The wait was so long that I had nearly accepted the fact that the best days of my favorite band were behind them—I was wrong. Gigaton is easily their best album in two decades; showing a new creativity that I didn’t think they band had in them but now I couldn’t be more excited for their future.
In true Pearl Jam fashion, Dance of the Clairvoyants was the first single on this album and arguably the most creative song the band has written since Who Are You (the first single from the 1996 album No Code). I am not exaggerating when I say I listened to this track at least 30 times the night it was released. I simply couldn’t believe that they had written a track as musically creative what I was hearing. Reading about the process for how the song was written (each member contributing various parts, sometimes not on their main instruments) got me so excited to hear what else came from these sessions! Unfortunately nothing was as creative as Dance of the Clairvoyants, but what was left was not disappointing.
This is Pearl Jam’s longest album. It was written in their newly constructed studio—a first for the band. Songwriting is still a collaborative effort, with Eddie Vedder being the glue that takes a Stone Gossard or Jeff Ament composition and turns it into a Pearl Jam song. Eddie’s lyrics range from anger at the Trump administration in Quick Escape to dealing with the loss of friends in River Cross. I’ve always been a fan of the way that Eddie gets creative with his lyrics, and some of my favorite on this album come from the track Superblood Wolfmoon.
Superblood WolfmoonPearl Jam
A life of hopelessness, focus on you focusness
I’ve been hopin’ and I hope that lasts
I don’t know anything, I question everything
This life I love is going way too fast
The musicianship of the band is still at the highest of levels. Matt Cameron’s drumming show why he is one of the best rock drummers alive. Mike McCready’s guitar work on this album is a highlight. His tones and sonic explorations on tracks like Dance of the Clairvoyants or Retrograde (which he wrote) show is skill hasn’t taken a hit in 30 years.
As time has gone on, I’ve found this album fall off my regular rotation as much, but all Pearl Jam albums do that for me. I listen to them so much that I have to step back for months before I come back and explore them again. Gigaton is one of the ones that I’ll definitely come back to often.