Letterman. “Better Man.” Get it?
“That’s Paul at the piano,” Vedder said, introducing longtime Letterman partner-in-crime Paul Schaffer. Emotions were running so high that Vedder broke a string.
The song, however, did strike somewhat of a discordant tone: Vedder has said in the past the tune is about abusive relationships.
“It’s much more tricky to end them than I would have thought,” he said during an episode of VH1’s “Storytellers” in 2006.
It’s unlikely that the rock star and Letterman have any bad blood, as Vedder has appeared on the show numerous times in almost 20 years. Perhaps the song referenced Letterman’s dust-up with NBC after Jay Leno was named Johnny Carson’s replacement in 1992?
Or maybe it was just a pun. Then again, “a true pun,” by one definition, “usually plays on the homophonic similarities between two different words or exploits the ambiguities of meaning in words that may appear or sound exactly the same.” Vedder didn’t exactly do that, as he didn’t use the words “Letterman” and “Better Man” in a sentence — at least not in performance clips available online after the show. So maybe this was just mere wordplay.
Or, at least, near-rhyme.