At an intimate gathering at the Troubadour, the iconic club in the Los Angeles area known for launching the careers of rock legends like Elton John, Pearl Jam unveiled their much-anticipated album to a select group of family, friends, industry experts, and journalists on Wednesday. Despite their years, the band, led by Eddie Vedder, 59, with guitarist Mike McCready, 57, and bassist Jeff Ament, 60, demonstrated that their music remains as dynamic and vigorous as ever. This event marked the debut of their 12th studio album, their first since “Gigaton” in 2020, showcasing the enduring spirit of these 1990s Seattle grunge icons.
Eddie Vedder, speaking to the audience, shared the band’s continuous passion for creating music, confidently stating that this latest work might be their finest yet. The specifics of the album, including its title and release date, remain under wraps, but the record, produced by Andrew Watt at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La studio in Malibu, is ready for the public.
Jeff Ament revealed that the album has been complete for about a year, waiting for the right moment to be shared. If “Gigaton” was a surprise for its intense rock sound, this new album pushes boundaries even further with its sheer energy and force, a testament to the band’s undiminished vitality. Matt Cameron, the drummer who’s been with Pearl Jam since 1998, is hailed as the standout performer on this album. His powerful drumming sets the tone for the project, overshadowing even Vedder’s vocals at times, earning the album praise as one of the band’s best in terms of drumming.
And leave it to the Pearl Jam faithful, one fan was able to capture snippets from the new album by simply hanging out by the back door of the venue! It’s a little difficult to hear, but enough to get the PJ fans excited for the new album. The video has been watched over 26,000 times within 24 hours. Watch and listen to the new songs from “Dark Matter” below:
Despite the energetic performances, the album’s lyrics begin with a dark tone before evolving to reflect the band’s inherent optimism. At the album’s premiere, the mood was light, with Vedder humorously suggesting that the album’s loudness required a bit of alcohol to be fully appreciated, a tactic he jokingly said was necessary for acclimating their older audience to their intense sound. The collaboration with Andrew Watt, a producer and avid Pearl Jam fan, brought fresh energy and insight to the album. His deep understanding of the band’s musical journey and his recent accolades, including a Grammy for Producer of the Year in 2021, contributed significantly to the album’s creation.
Reflecting on their history and the making of this album, the band members shared personal anecdotes and expressed gratitude for their journey together. The emotional event highlighted their strong bond and collective pride in their latest work, an album that encapsulates a range of emotions from anxiety to joy, much like attempting to create the perfect wave, as Vedder likened their creative process. The unusual setting of listening to their own recording in front of a live audience brought a unique blend of nostalgia and anticipation, underscoring the deep connection and appreciation the band shares with their music and each other.