Pearl Jam – Gigaton

Since this was my Best Album Of 2020, it makes sense I ought to review it here, eh?

I love Pearl Jam, and any new studio record (this is their 11th) is an instant purchase for me. I haven’t kept up with all the live stuff (who could?) but an album of new songs, seven years after the last record? Hell yeah. 

Sure, it ‘sounds like Pearl Jam,’ so if you’re dismissive of them at all, or not a fan, nothing here will excite you (probably), but if you’ve read this far into this post you’re not that silly person anyway. You’re here for the meat on the bone, and there’s a (giga)ton of it on this record. 

Experience has made them masters of their sound, and Pearl Jam craft yet another vital record of hard-hitting, thoughtful, excellent songs. Better, they’re growing, changing, becoming… something their detractors won’t take the time to recognize. New sounds, instruments, different looks meld well with their template. Nothing stale here, and all three of their main song styles are here – hard rockers that edge towards punk, mid-tempo rockers that radio should never stop playing, and sweet slower tracks that pull you in and hold you close. There are moments that make you want to break stuff as you thrash around, others that’ll unite the crowd (if concerts can ever happen again), and there are times when it feels like they’re playing just for you, and you want to protect that precious moment at all costs. 

Of course, Eddie’s lyrics are contemporary, taking on the recently-former President of the US and other issues, but there’s something else here too… of course, it’s an honest, overall sense and reflection of our society’s general unrest/malaise/simmering violence/fear stew. With a finger on the pulse, Pearl Jam sends us a wake-up call. Again.

Turns out, this was the album we all needed in one hell of a shitty year.

 

62 thoughts on “Pearl Jam – Gigaton

            1. keepsmealive says:

              The whole concert ticket-buying experience is awful. Ticketmaster, scalpers, wristbands, clogged websites… just gross. I can’t think of a better solution (I’m not minded that way) but there has to be something.

              Liked by 1 person

  1. 2loud2oldmusic says:

    I have never been a huge PJ fan, but I did enjoy this one. It just missed my Top 10 but there were a few songs on here that I added to my 2020 playlist. Someday I will take a deeper dive in to their catalog but until then I will stick with the greatest hits stuff. Great review though!!

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks! Interesting to hear about them from soneone not so invested as I am… This was an excellent release, and I’d say if you’re going to delve in, go right back to Ten and work your way up. It’s worth it to hear them grow and become.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. keepsmealive says:

          You should give in to those temptations. I don’t own any of their stuff on LP. We have a couple come through at work one time, and even though we priced them appropriately, they sold in about ten minutes.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Lana Teramae says:

    “You’re here for the meat on the bone, and there’s a (giga)ton of it on this record. ” Nice play on words with this statement! Pearl Jam a rock band? Not what I expected. Based on the name, I thought they were a jazz band.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Ha thatnks, someone had to do it.

      A jazz band? Now THERE’S an interesting thought! No, they were part of the whole early 90s grunge scene with Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden… Go back to Ten and you’ll see!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. keepsmealive says:

          Ha yeah definitely not a jazz band, but as you go through their albums, you’ll find similarities end and they become their own thing. While you’re on Ten, though, check out Alive, Even Flow and Jeremy (I’ll bet you’ve heard them before). Black also gets me every time.

          Liked by 1 person

              1. Lana Teramae says:

                Update: The songs you suggested are good. I kind of like them; they’re heavy, but they’re not like overly heavy and are kind of soothing. “Jeremy” is an interesting one because it’s based off on a true story.

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                    1. Lana Teramae says:

                      Oh yeah sorry, the Book Off is a store that sells used CDs, books, DVDs, and electronics. It’s one of my favorite stores. I bought my first AC/DC CD from there. I actually read the wiki page and the album did really well! Thanks, I will!

                      Like

                    2. Lana Teramae says:

                      I hope you get to go back to music stores soon! This pandemic won’t last forever, I hope. There are not many music stores in Hawaii, like I’ve complained about before. There’s only the book off and I just discovered a record shop that’s in town. The latter is a far drive, but it was worth it!

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                    3. keepsmealive says:

                      Well, it’s a matter of geography. I am equidistant from downtown Toronto or Mike’s house (about 2.5 hours). I’d say our Toronto trips amount to 6-7 hours of driving for me. I don’t mind. It’s a day out, we just leave early.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Lana Teramae says:

                      Oh that’s right! I think I remember your dad going with you and Mike on those road trips. Awww that’s nice! How are your parents during the time of covid by the way?

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                    5. keepsmealive says:

                      They’re doing OK, thanks for asking. They’re bored. Since they’re over 70, we haven’t been into the house since the new lockdown, but I help out as much as I can. Mostly they just hang out, but they’re missing their grandkids (my kids) big-time.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Lana Teramae says:

                      Oh that’s nice you help them out, I’m sorry you can’t see them during this time. Especially with the new lockdown. How long is that going to go on for?

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                    7. keepsmealive says:

                      Well, our area is supposed to go back to Yellow tomorrow, I think. I think that means gatherings up to 10 people so that could be alright if that’s the case. But it’s been a month and a half.

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. Neil says:

    Okay I am going to listen you all convinced me. I remember at the start of all this when Pearl Jam cancelled their tour thinking “wow this is real” I haven’t listened to much Pearl Jam but I have always trusted Eddie Vedder for some reason, go figure.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      He’d be pleased to hear it lol. Let me know how you get on, I find it fascinating that this album is your first encounter with them. Of course I would say go back to Ten and come all the way up to now, but I’ll be very curious to hear how you get on with them!

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  4. J. says:

    In my top 5 last year. I didn’t expect an album as good as this from them… not after the mnahness of Backspacer and the awfulness of Lightning Bolt. Their best since Binaural, I reckon.

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      1. J. says:

        It could have benefited from excluding Buckle Up, but it’s definitely a great record.

        I’m not sure what to say about your fondness for Backspacer and Lightning Bolt!

        Like

        1. keepsmealive says:

          Every PJ record has something they might’ve left off, but hey, it’s their baby.

          I may suffer from fairly high levels of PJ blindness. Not saying I think everything they did is genius, but I can overlook some things (like some of Eddie’s lyrical clunks) when the majority of it is so strong.

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