Pearl Jam - Gigaton: Album Review

How does the brand new album from the 90's rock superstars stack up?

Gigaton Pearl Jam

Grunge rock dominated the music scene throughout the 1990's and still holds notable influence over the current rock scene. The genre was guided by huge, iconic names such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and of course Pearl Jam. Even though these legendary bands still maintain their reputation and fame to the highest level today, Pearl Jam are one of the few survivors from the initial movement who are still active today.

'Gigaton' is Pearl Jam's first studio record since 2013's 'Lightning Bolt' and opens up promisingly with 'Who Ever Said'. There is a strong sense of Pearl Jam's roots coming from this song with the raw energy and the matured, more modernised approach.

The catchy, infectious tone of the record continues into the single, 'Superblood Wolfmoon', as the youthful edge of the band remains consistent even today. This is followed by another single as 'Dance of the Clairvoyants' comes into play. This alternative touched, classic rock tainted tune takes a more mellow approach compared to the prior songs, expanding the appeal and horizons of the record excellently.


Shades of The Cult from 'Dance of the Clairvoyants' are quickly replaced by a renewed sense of identity and originality in 'Quick Escape'. The original, gnarly and grainy grunge rock approach of the band is scarcely visible here, as 'Quick Escape' is more focused on a crisp rock sound. Pearl Jam make it work however and this proves to be yet another likeable addition to the album.

'Alright' takes a completely different stance compared to the previous tracks, opening with an atmospheric and docile introduction. Sadly, 'Alright' is one of the weaker songs on the album as it almost sounds timid and too hesitant to commit to a more conviction focused tempo.


'Seven O'Clock' adopts a slightly abstract feel which is again, surprisingly mellow. In truth, this song has more in common with the likes Bruce Springsteen than what you would expect from Pearl Jam. Of course this isn't necessarily a bad thing but, it's also not your expectation when listening to a Pearl jam album. 'Never Destination' abandons the oddly humble and sombre tone of the record, going for a distinctly faster pace. Elements of classic rock infiltrate the landscape of the album through this song, giving 'Gigaton' a slight vintage feel which suits the band well.

The most grunge rock sounding song to date is up next as 'Take The Long Way' fires into action. The energetic drumming and memorable chorus make this song seem like it could be a Soundgarden cover. However, the unique vocals and cutting edge delivery ensure that this song is littered with Pearl Jam's unmistakable identity.


Where others songs came across as crisp and smooth, 'Buckle Up' seems more stripped back and simple. Similar comments can be made about the borderline country rock tune 'Comes Then Goes' which again, is definitely not what you were expecting from this record. 'Gigaton' is concluded by the combination of 'Retrograde' and 'River Cross', which are both chilled and easily enjoyable in their own ways.

Overall, 'Gigaton' is an honestly perplexing record. If this was the first time you had ever listened to Pearl Jam, you would have no idea they were responsible for great grunge records such as 'Ten' and 'Vs.'. With that being said, 'Gigaton' isn't a bad record at all, it just catches you by surprise a little. It takes a few listens to get used to but after a while, you can start to appreciate 'Gigaton' as the approachable record it is.


Hi everyone, I'm a signed author and journalist. Despite my main area of expertise being rock music, I have an interest in loads of other subjects like films, TV series, sports and of course, wrestling.