"Love Boat Captain" (LBC) is the third song of the seventh Pearl Jam's album, Riot Act.

Love Boat Captain (2003)

 The song lyrics were written by Eddie Vedder and its music was procuced not only by him, but together with keyboardist Boom Gaspar. The songs is the most expressive of the album while singing about the theme of love as a higher salvation, also dealing with existentialism.


The song is a deep and strong lyric where a protagonist founds himself/herself in another hidden and obscure day, as said by the character, a "God forgotten place". This leading figure sings about the mishaps of sailing into love, being aboard of a boat commanded by Love itself. At the beginning everything is beautiful, but then things become dark; questions began to appear and answers are lost and both events happen with no control. By the way, it is just a game for the protagonist, maybe in the context of being a repetitive sequence with the same rules and the same consequences. In this chaos of indecisions and doubts, the protagonist asks the Captain of the boat to steer towards the clear, and paraphrasing The Beatles in a song that "already been sung" (All You Need Is Love), he afirms that love is the only salvation. It is possible that the phase of darkness is caused by the disilusion of a past love, and to cure the pain and insecurity, only giving a short break (the clear) and another love can save everything.

The songs develops itself like in the way of the boat sailing through love, relating earthquakes and waves to the difficulties of the lack of love or even its presence, but everything is connected to the feeling. Stubborn, human beings try things that are impossible on his/her vision, only yielding to love and holding its hand will ease everything. The main character asks for love to hold him/her to be safe, because when everything is down, Love will be there, since the only thing that matters for the protagonist is love.

To live with pain, merging good and bad moments, is an art. At this moment, the lead figure sings the pain of losing nine friends he will never know (a reference from Vedder of the nine fans who died on the Roskilde tragedy) and questions if will be more regrets if life gets any longer, stating proportionality. Stating that the elder can teach precious knowledge to the younger, once the first ones have passed through lots of situations worst than the youth, and these ones believe their problems are the biggest. The main character realizes that this problem is not the biggest, and life has not abandoned him/her, at the least not this time, because there's love.

In the end, once again, the protagonist finds himself/herself lost on the boat, maybe by unrequited or, ironically, by problems love can cause, and asks again to the Captain to steer towards the clear. Finishing the song, and referring to All You Need Is Love, the lead figure says that it never gets old saying that the only salvation is love.

Music & LyricsEdit

Pearl Jam - Love Boat Captain

Pearl Jam - Love Boat Captain

Is this just another day? This god forgotten place'

First comes love and then comes pain, let the games begin

  Questions rise and answers fall, insurmountable

Love boat captain, take the reigns and steer us towards the clear, here

It's already been sung, but it can't be said enough

All you need is love

Is this just another phase? of earthquakes making waves

Trying to shake the cancer off? oh, stupid human beings

Once you hold the hand of love, it's all surmountable 

Hold me and make it the truth

  That when all is lost there'll be you

Cuz to the universe, i don't mean a thing

And there is just one word i still believe

  And it's love... 

It's an art to live with pain, mix the light into grey

  Lost nine friends we'll never know, two years ago today

And if our lives became too long, would it add to our regret? 

And the young they can lose hope 

Cuz they can't see beyond today...

  The wisdom that the old can't give away, hey

Constant recoil

Sometimes life don't leave you alone 

Hold me and make it the truth

That when all is lost there will be you

Cuz to the universe, i don't mean a thing

  And there is just one word and i still believe

And it's love... love, love, love, love

Love boat captain, take the reigns, steer us towards the clear

  I know it's already been sung, it can't be said enough

Love is all you need... all you need is love

Love, love...