Review: “Gigaton” by Pearl Jam

Photo Credit: Pearl Jam


A couple months ago I tuned into the alternative radio station 91.7 and heard “Dance of the Clairvoyants,” a new single by Pearl Jam. To say the very least, I was surprised yet impressed. At that time, the single was receiving heavy airplay on radio stations and it had around 5,000,000 streams on Spotify. It seemed to me Pearl Jam had begun to change their sound. More importantly, though, I could see these guys, who have been around since 1991, were gaining some vitality, trying to tear up a new scene. Gigaton by Pearl Jam was released on March 27th and it surely proves that this band has much more to accomplish.

The standout song on the album is “Superblood Wolfmoon”. Matt Cameron’s drums begin the song, which always make for a powerful build-up. Then, a thick, melodic guitar riff drops in and carries on through most of the song. It sets the tone for the entire tune; it is punk, yet upbeat. Eddie Vedder’s vocals begin proves that he is as youthful as ever. There is energy and projection in his voice, not to mention the slick, abstract lyrics: “Superblood wolfmoon / took her away too soon… I can hear you / Singin’ in the distance / I can see you when I close my eyes / Once you were somewhere / And now you’re everywhere / I’m feelin’ selfish and I want what’s right.” The song maintains its tempo throughout, climaxing at Mick McCready’s guitar solo. Heavily influenced by Texas-born Stevie Ray Vaughan, the solo is loud and in your face. I definitely recommend “Superblood Wolfmoon.” It keeps your eyes wide open (and your ears, too).

Next is the song I first heard from Gigaton, “Dance of the Clairvoyants.” Obviously, with song names like these, they’re increasing the new listener’s interest. Although it is unintentional, it is working. This song is completely unique when you compare it to the rest of Pearl Jam’s repertoire. Eddie Vedder has been said to be a huge fan of the Talking Heads, a famous 80s band, and one can truly hear it in this song. It begins with a techno drumbeat, establishing the tone of the song. This tune is easily more accessible for modern-music fans. Then, a cascading keyboard sound drops in. It feels almost eerie in a sense, maybe even extraterrestrial. Vedder’s lyrics, again, do not hold back, “Confusing is / To commotion / What love is / To our devotion / Imperceptibly big / Big as the ocean.” The verses work as a perfect tension-builder for the chorus, where everything becomes unified. It creates a euphoric feeling. Through the song, Stone Gossard’s guitar keeps a steady rhythm, but he plays funk chords. The entire song is perfectly strange and again, unique. At the end, the song just seems to fade out, creating haunting vocals.

Lastly, the first song on the album is “Who Ever Said.” This song is a solid rocker, a perfect way to begin a record. The first thing one hears is this strange ambient sound, then abruptly the chaotic guitar. Matt Cameron on drums begins to groove and then the vocals start. The song keeps a heavy rhythm throughout, really coming together at the chorus, “Who ever said it’s all been said? / Gave up on satisfaction.” At a couple points, the song completely changes; it slows down, becoming much softer. It adds an element of elegance to the song and makes the heavy parts far more exciting. Mike McCready’s lead guitar is also showcased in this song, as he throws in short phrases here and there.

I recommend that anyone listen to this album. For anyone who believes certain types of music are dead, this album proves you wrong. Pearl Jam proves their strength and vitality with Gigaton. Music is just music, so give it a try.