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Pearl Jam – Gigaton

March 31, 2020

I am not much of a Pearl Jam fan, but I was motivated to check this new album out after listening to Bill Simmons’ podcast with the band’s Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament.

It is hard not to be a rock fan of a certain age and not be a Pearl Jam fan. Their first three albums (Ten, Vs. and Vitalogy) were great. Those three albums, plus being a great live act, have allowed them to be the grunge Grateful Dead for thirty years. I have never seen them live and I have not kept up with them since their 90s heyday – so as I said earlier, I am not much of a fan.

The new album sounds fresh and energetic. It is a mix of punk attitude and classic rock influences  – my definition of Seattle grunge. Like their 90s best, the songs have great hooks. Eddie Vedder’s vocals sound fantastic.  It is probably not fair to call this a comeback, but it is for me – I have comeback to Pearl Jam because of the quality of this album.

There are some new sounds (at least for this marginal fan).  “Dance Of The Clairvoyants” sounds like a Talking Heads/Peal Jam love child – it totally works – it sounds like Bowie.  “Come Then Goes” is a beautiful acoustic piece. “River Cross” has an epic Springsteen gospel feel.  There are plenty of rockers too.

“Seven O’Clock” a protest song about Trump, accidentally has a message for the pandemic:

For this is no time for depression or self-indulgent hesitance

This fucked up situation calls for all hands, hands on deck

Then specifically on Trump:

Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, they forged the north and west

Then you got Sitting Bullshit as our sitting president

The 12 songs are perfectly sequenced.  Pearl Jam reminds me of The Who. The Who resurrected recently, so they have more than sound in common. This album is a welcome surprise and I am motivated to revisit their catalog and see them live.   This album is as essential as any of the albums in their 90s trilogy.


From → Music Reviews

  1. Sounds like we feel the same way about the band. Will listen to this.

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