A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this inoffensive soundtrack from the movie of the same name is the first solo album from Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. Many young teens won't care about -- or get -- most of the themes (running away to find yourself, having more than you need), but the music is folksy enough to be fine for anyone older than 13.
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What's the story?
It's fitting that Eddie Vedder's first full-length solo album tells the story of another man's solo journey. There's nothing offensive anywhere on INTO THE WILD, just soulful, folky songs that follow the doomed Alaskan adventure of Chris McCandless. Vedder's words won't cause parents to pause, but the story might. It's essentially the true story of runaway McCandless, a smart 20-something kid who shunned society and ventured off (with few supplies and even fewer survival skills). But his live-off-the-land dream turned into every parent's nightmare when he was found dead several months later.
Is it any good?
Vedder's plaintive voice and simple, soulful lyrics gently guide us into the wild world that McCandless saw, perfectly blending a sense of freedom with a strong foreboding. His songs warn of the dangers of nature as well as the danger of wanting more than you have or need -- messages that many parents may want to instill in their children. Like his muse, Vedder also respects nature while railing against materialism and greed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the inspiration to do soundtracks. How was Vedder moved by the tale and the movie? Do you think it helps to have a famous artist as the voice of a soundtrack? Families can also talk about McCandless' tale. What things in society would you want to leave behind? Is running away really the best way to "find yourself" or to shun capitalism and corporate America?