Pearl Jam – Gigaton


The original grunge super stars Pearl Jam are back with their first studio album since 2013’s “Lightning Bolt”. I saw them live for the first time on the tour that followed it and while I didn’t find the “Lightning Bolt” album quite as good as it’s predecessor, “Backspacer” (2009), the concert at Stockholm’s Friends Arena in 2014 was amazing! Like most sensible people(?), I’m a huge fan or their first three albums – “Ten” (1991), “Vs.” (1993) and “Vitalogy” (1994) – and in my opinion, “Backspacer” is still the closest they’ve gotten to that level of songwriting. “Gigaton” isn’t as good as those early albums, obviously, but it is certainly decent enough.

The line-up remains the same as it has been since former Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron replaced Red Hot Chili Peppers founder Jack Irons in 1998. Speaking of RHCP,  at times the vocals of Eddie Vedder here arguably resemble those of their recently returning guitar hero, John Frusciante. In addition to being a great vocalist, Vedder is still the band’s main lyricist. Only three songs have lyrics credited to other band members: the laid-back “Alright” (credited solely to bass player Jeff Ament), “Take the Long Way” (by Matt Cameron) and guitarist Stone Gossard’s “Buckle Up”. Gossard is also co-credited for the music of “Seven O’Clock” and “Dance of the Clairvoyants” along with guitarist  Mike McCready, who himself composed the beautiful music of “Retrograde”. Vedder is sole composer of five tracks: “Who Ever Said”, “Superblood Wolfmoon”,”Never Destination”, “Comes Then Goes” (bringing to mind his 2007 “Into the Wild” soundtrack) and album closer “River Cross”.


“Confusion is to commotion what love is to our devotion.
Imperceptibly big, big as the ocean, and equally hard to control.”

The album highlight “Dance of the Clairvoyants”, “Superblood Wolfmoon” (during which my girlfriend asked what I was listening to, thinking it sounded like Kings of Leon) and “Quick Escape” (in which Vedder recalls “the lengths we had to go to then, to find a place Trump hadn’t fucked up yet”) were launched ahead of the album release. These singles are also among the more notable songs. “It takes a village but don’t take mine”, sings Vedder in album opener “Who Ever Said”, a line that seems fitting in these times of the Corona virus. Not to mention in regards to global warming, a subject that appears to engage the band as the album cover shows melting glaciers. We know that every one of us needs to do out part to battle the threats facing humanity, but few seems willing to give up on the priviligies of their own “village”. Another swing is thrown at Donald Trump at “Seven O’Clock”, with Vedder singing “Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse come forged the north and west, then there’s Sitting Bullshit as our sitting president.” Not very eloquent, but there you go!

Musically, there’s few major surprises here. Catchy rock songs and gentle ballads in equal measures, all impeccably performed by seasoned veterans. “Gigaton” was produced by Josh Evans, a man previously involved in singles featuring Mike McCready with Kim Virant (of the band Lazy Susan, who released two albums in the early 1990’s) as well as recent releases featuring Pearl Jam-related bands Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog and Mad Season. Also contributing to “Gigaton” is “Boom” Gaspar, a man who has performed with Pearl Jam as a piano/keyboard/organ player since 2002.


Pearl Jam - Gigaton

Pearl Jam – Gigaton

Artist: Pearl Jam
Title: Gigaton
Label: Monkeywrench/Republic Records
Date of release: 2020-03-27
Rating: 6/10
Standout track: Dance of the Clairvoyants



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Pearl Jam – Gigaton

April 2, 2020

Musically, there's few major surprises here. Catchy rock songs and gentle ballads in equal measures, all impeccably performed by seasoned veterans.

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