It’s been seven years since Pearl Jam’s last studio album, “Lightning Bolt,” and the music world has missed them. Eddie Vedder and his grunge gang were one of the first major bands to postpone a tour due to the coronavirus crisis — they were supposed to be playing Madison Square Garden on Monday. But at least we have their new LP, “Gigaton,” out Friday, to give us good reason to rock on right now. Here are six highlights that will have you breaking out your flannel again.
The chugging guitars crank up a beast of a rocker featuring a primal vocal by Vedder. When he sings, “Don’t allow for hopelessness, focus on your focusness/I’ve been hoping that our hope does last,” it feels eerily prescient at this moment.
On this moody meditation, Vedder is a voice of comfort to the isolated: “It’s all right to be alone/To listen for a heartbeat, it’s your own/It’s all right to quiet up/To disappear in thin air, it’s your own.”
Unleashing the kind of fury a lot us are feeling now, this stomping tirade — with Vedder raging about the “disease of confusion, stripped of our grace” — will have you headbanging all around your home.
“Take the Long Way”
This blistering track could well describe the long road Pearl Jam took to making “Gigaton.” But when Vedder sings, “I always take the long way that leads me back to you,” you get the feeling that an eventual return was never in doubt.
“Comes Then Goes”
Some of the best moments on any PJ album are always the quieter ones. And Vedder, in tender troubadour mode, gives you all the feels on this folky ballad. “Could all use a savior from human behavior sometimes,” he sings as if he already knew something was about to go down.
The “Gigaton” closer will have you wading in emotions as the ever-earnest Vedder brings the album to an evocative end. There’s solace to be found in the lyrics: “Wide awake through this deepest night/Still waiting on the sun/As the hours seem to multiply/Find a star to soldier on.”