Pearl Jam dropped an album in 2020

This is Pearl Jam in 2020.


This was Pearl Jam when they broke in the early 90s…


Did you know Pearl Jam released, “Gigaton”, their 11th studio album in March of 2020? I vaguely remember hearing something about it, but then, well… 2020 happened.

MANY things musical fell off the radar. Bands stopped touring. Venues have closed. Festivals have canceled. And as of this writing in January of 2021… It looks like this summer is going to be more of the same.

So while the state of the music industry is in limbo… it’s a good time to catch up on stuff that might have slipped past you over this last year of lockdowns, political unrest, and raging pandemics.

Like… a brand new Pearl Jam album! (that is now almost a year old, heh).

Pearl Jam Gigaton

One of the first songs released from that album was the single, “Dance of the Clairvoyants”. There is something inherently reminiscent of Talking Heads in both the construction of this song, and the broken and stumbling pattern of Vedder’s lyrical deliveries. A solid track that shows Pearl Jam STILL have some good ideas worth exploring.

Expecting perfection / Leaves a lot to ignore / When the past is the present / And the future’s no more / When every tomorrow / Is the same as before” – from the song “Dance of the Clairvoyants”. Hits pretty close to home in the current climate of a pandemic.

Here is another track off “Gigaton” called, ‘Quick Escape’. It has a great grinding bass that holds up the foundation against punch and dodge guitar strums with a big chorus and rocking bridges. Vedder’s voice still has an other-wordly warble that commands the lyrics with such a style that he uniquely owns, stamping that classic vocal sound all over this song.

Like most Pearl Jam albums, the band will mire themselves down into these moody, introspective, “emotional” songs. Sometimes it works brilliantly (‘Jeremy’, ‘Daughter’… I know I am pulling early tracks, but those are probably the most well known)… other times, it’s an exercise in self-indulgence and what is called ‘album filler’. Some people probably like these luke-warm, mid-tempo Pearl Jam numbers… but it’s where the band is at its creative weakest. Witness the song ‘Retrograde’. Yawn.

Luckily, those numbers seem to be the minority on, “Gigaton”. Pearl Jam have not forgot how to just get together like a garage band and bang out numbers because it feels good and that’s what rock is about at its core. That stripped down vibe can be felt on the track, “Superblood Wolfmoon” with it’s gang shouted accents on the vocals and Vedder’s care-free “la da da da da da’s”. Even the production on this track is pretty bare-bones and the better for the choice.

So what have we learned? For one, this pandemic has me so far removed from the world… it took almost a year to get around to listening to the new Pearl Jam. And it’s good. Surprisingly good. You’d think after 11 albums, the band would be running dry on worthwhile ideas. And yet… here are a bunch more great Pearl Jam songs.

Looking at the millions of views on these videos… The band is still finding its audience.

And in my case, the audience is still finding Pearl Jam.



And just because… it’s my favorite PJ song… (man, this still gives me chills. The energy captured on this video is electric. When this was recorded… the timeframe… this was defining a generation of music in real time. If you were there… it was something to behold.)