When speaking about “Do the Evolution”, Vedder stated, “That song is all about someone who’s drunk with technology, who thinks they’re the controlling living being on this planet. It’s another one I’m not singing as myself.”Pearl Jam has stated that the novel Ishmael influenced the writing of Yield, and according to the novel’s writer, Daniel Quinn, this song comes the closest to expressing the ideas of the book. Vedder stated:
This Daniel Quinn book, Ishmael…I’ve never recommended a book before, but I would actually, in an interview, recommend it to everyone….But this book, it’s kind of the book of my … My whole year has been kind of with these thoughts in mind. And on an evolutionary level, that man has been on this planet for 3 million years, so that you have this number line that goes like this [hands wide apart]. And that we’re about to celebrate the year 2000, which is this [holds hands less than one inch apart]. So here’s this number line; here’s what we know and celebrate. This book is a conversation with a man and an ape. And the ape really has it all together. He kinda knows the differences between him and the man, and points out how slight they are, and it creates an easy analogy for what man has done, thinking that they were the end-all. That man is the end-all thing on this earth. That the earth was around even so much longer before the 3 million years. Fifty million years of sharks and all these living things. Then man comes out of the muck, and 3 million years later he’s standing, and now he’s controlling everything and killing it. Just in the last hundred! Which is just a speck on this line. So what are we doin’ here? This is just a good reminder…And I’m anxious to see what happens. You know, I’ve got a good seat for whatever happens next. It’ll be interesting.
Music video by Pearl Jam performing Do The Evolution. (C) 1998 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT