Pearl Jam’s ‘Gigaton’: 8 things we learned listening to the band’s comeback album

Pearl Jam fans, rejoice: the Seattle-based grunge band has finally released its 11th and latest studio album, Gigaton.

Serving as the follow-up to 2013’s Lightning Bolt, the long-awaited record was released March 27 across all platforms  in digital and physical formats through both Republic Records and Pearl Jam’s own independent label, Monkeywrench.

Alongside the band’s longstanding members — frontman Eddie Vedder, guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Matt Cameron — Gigaton was produced by music engineer Josh Evans (Soundgarden).

Not only does the 57-minute body of work include three singles — Dance of the Clairvoyants, Superblood Wolfmoon and Quick Escapeas well as 9 other brand new, previously unheard tracks, but it’s a vessel for some of Pearl Jam’s most diverse and complex offerings to date.

In celebration of its release, here are some things we learned on our first few listens of Gigaton:

What’s the story behind the album artwork?

For those who may not know, the album artwork is actually a photograph named “Ice Waterfall” taken by Canadian photographer and marine biologist Paul Nicklen. The image was captured in Svalbard, Norway, sometime in 2014.

So why did they pick that specific image? Well, the album title correlates with it. A “gigaton” equates to 1 billion metric tons and is also the measurement used to determine the continuous melting of polar ice caps across the world.

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