Admit it, you were worried about this one, right? For most of the last decade, Pearl Jam seemed to be slowing down. 2013’s Lightning Bolt quickly faded into the distance. Then came 2018’s stand-alone single, “Can’t Deny Me,” a cringe-inducing misfire with awkward #MeToo-inspired artwork. This was followed by the sad news that the band was ending its legendary Ten Club Singles Series, where, since 1991, they’d carried on a unique clandestine musical conversation with their core fan base through limited edition 7” releases. Their last tour included stops in only four cities (Seattle, Missoula, Chicago and Boston) in North America. The band seemed focused on other projects, like frontman Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Music Festival in Dana Point, California, that, ironically, Pearl Jam has never actually played. For the 30-year-old rock band, the future didn’t look great.
But then a series of mysterious digital billboards began appearing around the world featuring images from nature, a new electrocardiogram-style Pearl Jam logo, and the word Gigaton. Then, a week later, they released “Dance of the Clairvoyants,” a startling, synth-driven single that got everybody talking again. It’s a divisive song, clearly inspired by The Talking Heads and early 2000s dance-punk. It signaled a potential new direction for the band and a sonic expansion incorporating more electronics. Fan forums and comment sections suddenly came alive. Was this a betrayal of their classic rock roots? Was this their version of The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You?” Was Gigaton (which ended up being the album name) going to be Pearl Jam’s disco album? Perhaps most interestingly, the band quickly released three music videos for the track—an almost unthinkable decision since Pearl Jam has purposely avoided videos in favor of live performance footage and feature-length documentaries since 1998’s “Do the Evolution.”
A month later, “Dance” was followed by “Superblood Wolfmoon,” a playful, haunted hayride rocker, featuring another video, this time an adorable Tiny Concert animated film.
Album: Pearl Jam — Gigaton Zip Download
Who Ever Said
Dance Of The Clairvoyants
Take The Long Way
Comes Then Goes