Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Review: Pearl Jam - Dark Matter

Made sure I had some time to listen to Pearl Jam’s Dark Matter today. New PJ is always special, and life is good. First impressions are it’s another very solid album: they never disappoint. That classic Pearl Jam sound is there. They’re not reinventing the wheel, it’s just all about the songs, the melodies and that special X factor every band brings to a project. And this band has enormous X factor. On the last album, Gigaton, Eddie’s lyrics sometimes veered to the explicitly political. He even mentioned Mr Trump a couple times, as I recall. Not so with this one: Eddie’s singing about politics alright, but it’s largely personal, or it sounds personal. He has said the song Wreckage is about Trump ‘playing the victim’. Not sure about that. Anyway, the lyrics are sometimes dark, as you’d expect from the title, but they can also be uplifting. The music seems to have a harsher edge than usual. Maybe Stone Gossard‘s got a new tone he likes for his rhythm guitar; either way, it’s coming through, and not for the faint-hearted. My standout tracks for the moment seem to be what we might call the mid-paced numbers, especially Wreckage, Won’t Tell, and Something Special. I really like the country lope they achieve on this last one. Then there’s Waiting For Stevie, which feels like it might become a crowd favourite. Drummer Matt Cameron really lets loose here, with some whopping fills. I looked it up and apparently Stevie is Stevie Wonder. I was actually hoping it might be Stevie Nicks. The song after Stevie is Running, which has an appropriately speedy drive, a ferocious uptempto tune. I actually lost my place in the lyrics with this one, Eddie was singing so damn fast, and then he tripped me up by returning to an earlier line. For Got To Give he gives us only a portion of his lyric on the album booklet. He’s done this before. Just a portion, because too much would not be good for us. Thanks Ed. Thanks Pearl Jam. Looking forward to playing this a lot. See you at the concert!