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Pearl Jam - Gigaton

  by Zena Grieg

published: 5 / 5 / 2020

Pearl Jam - Gigaton
Label: Virgin EMI
Format: CD


Political and environmentally-conscious eleventh album from bestselling alternative rock band Pearl Jam

The Seattle rock band Pearl Jam have released their latest album ‘Gigaton’. It is the eleventh studio album by one of the most influential and biggest-selling American rock bands of the late 1990s and 2000s who, by the start of this year, had sold almost 100 million albums worldwide and were featured in Rolling Stone’s ‘Top Ten Live Acts of All Time.’ ‘Gigaton’ is Pearl Jam’s first album in seven years and their longest. Its cover of melting glaciers highlights the climate change emergency and the title word, 'Gigaton', is the measurement of explosive energy of one billion tons of TNT. This is the album that also took Pearl Jam the longest time to complete. In the words of lead guitarist Mike McCready: “It was emotionally dark and a little confusing at times, but also an exciting and experimental road map to musical redemption.” Familiar themes recur throughout, rage against the government, fear for the environment, references to grief and loss are all-pervasive. In an album displaying their musical elasticity, with each member represented in the song-writing, highlights include the opener ‘Who Ever Said’ with its stomping backbeat reminiscent of the 1998 ‘Yield’-era band and its urgent message calling for self-fulfilment in an age in the thrall of capitalism. Also impressive is the mesmerizing updated grunge of ‘Superblood Wolfmoon’ with frontman Eddie Vedder’s impassioned vocals perfectly complementing McReady’s riffs. It’s also hard not to enjoy the single from the album, ‘Dance of the Clairvoyants’ with its Noughties synth-laden vibe, funk-inspired breakdown and grand convergence of spiralling melodies. Not giving up is the leitmotif of this album - whether regarding a troubled relationship (‘Take the Long Way’) or against a “Government [that] thrives on discontent/And there’s no such thing as clear/Proselytizing and profiting/As our will all but just disappears” (the lyric in closing track, ‘River Cross’). The empowering message in this final song is that, even in an apocalyptic time, there is still hope, with the mantra “Can’t hold me down/Won’t hold us down ” lifting the album to its conclusion.

Track Listing:-
1 Who Ever Said
2 Superblood Wolfmoon
3 Dance Of The Clairvoyants
4 Quick Escape
5 Alright
6 Seven O'Clock
7 Never Destination
8 Take The Long Way
9 Buckle Up
10 Comes Then Goes
11 Retrograde
12 River Cross

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