Favorite Track: "Quick Escape" Least Favorite Track: "Seven O' Clock"
The most recent LP from Pearl Jam, Gigaton, is one of the best examples of a mixed bag within the rock scene in recent years. Despite coming across as much better than expected, the infamous grunge outfit’s first record in seven years still has its faults. The record starts off incredibly strong with some hard hitting rock-and-roll tracks like “Who Ever Said” and “Superblood Wolfmoon”, clearly showing that Pearl Jam has the ability to put together a catchy riff and hook while still retaining their raw rock sound. The next track “Dance of the Clairvoyants” takes a bit of a left turn, bringing in some sounds you wouldn’t necessarily expect from Pearl Jam, sounding almost like a Talking Heads song with the spastic synth lines and David Byrne-esque vocals from Eddie Vedder, and it definitely works. The next track “Quick Escape” is a huge highlight for me, with some super punchy drums and thick bass, layered over a guitar line that sounds like something from a Royal Blood song. This cut feels very inspired by a lot of popular new-age rock outfits like Rival Sons, but retains something very distinctly Pearl Jam. This cut brings in a raging guitar solo backed by aggressive drums before coming to a close. Unfortunately, Pearl Jam’s successful efforts start to heavily taper off here. The next few tracks are very unremarkable, but don’t provide anything too negative to the album. They score one more hit with “Take the Long Way”, before completely burning out. The last 3 tracks all sound incredibly similar, and really provide next to nothing new. They all sport very mellow instrumentals, 2 out the 3 being acoustic jams that overstay their welcome by about 2 and a half minutes, and bring down a lot of the momentum the album had created with the previous hard-hitting cuts. Pearl Jam definitely proves that they can still make some good tracks after all these years, but they also show that they don’t have as much ability as they may have had on records like Ten and Vitalogy. This LP is definitely one where a bit of digging has to be done to find the great bits, but the best cuts on Gigaton are more than worth digging for.