A fire ablaze inside a sphere of energy, a metaphore for dark matter.

Pearl Jam
Dark Matter

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Pearl Jam announced a new album titled Dark Matter, released a new single titled ‘Dark Matter’, and announced a world tour… Dark Matter Tour. Can we wish for more? Is it too dark-themed? Does it matter? They are playing Manchester and London gigs just around the time Glastonbury takes place.

Coincidences happen but a new album, tour, and touring England when the Somerset celebration of music occurs, that’d be way too many coincidences occurring simultaneously. Expect Glasto to announce Pearl Jam anytime now.

The album, with a release day post-it saying 19th April, was produced by none other than Andrew Watt. The guy behind The Rolling Stones album Hackney Diamonds and who also collaborated with Ozzy Osborne, Elton John, and Lana Del Ray.

Andrew Watt, Legends, and Eddie Vedder

Andrew Watt is known for not respecting, or, maybe outright ignoring, the age of whoever he works with, and pushes them to sound new, fresh, and better.

A prime example is his work on Hackney Diamonds. Instead of The Stones sounding like a band releasing something after the zenith, just getting new music out for the fans, and not really keeping in mind a new audience, the album does the very opposite. The way it’s arranged, sound managed, and keeps energy levels high, you don’t think for a second you’re listening to a band that’s been around since 1962, over sixty years.

The producer makes them sound like they’re 40 years younger and it doesn’t take anything away from who they are and messages they’re getting across.

Back to Pearl Jam.

This isn’t the first cooperation between Eddie Vedder and Watt – Andrew produced the latest Eddie’s solo trip, a very well-received album Earthling.

The guys obviously clicked.

‘Dark Matter’ hits the drums harder

The song strangely kicks off with something that makes you think for a second that you’re listening to a cover of Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock’n’Roll’ but manages to steer out of the danger zone just in time to spin into much darker territory.

Compared to, for example, the 2006 album titled simply Pearl Jam to marks their first full-length album, the drums sound way heavier on ‘Dark Matter’ than in any of the Pearl Jam tracks.

The entire track is heavier and harder. In many ways, it reminds you of tracks from the already mentioned Vedder’s solo adventure, Earthling, namely ‘Good and Evil’ or ‘Rose of Jericho’.

What is Pearl Jam’s ‘Dark Matter’ about?

Dark matter is something we’re all surrounded by, there’s no escaping it. As long as you’re living in our lovely little universe, that is. Not something for the flat-earther folk out there.

The song is about frustration and disillusionment with the current state of affairs, highlighting the consequences of mistakes made by our politicians: ‘It’s strange these days / When everybody else pays / For someone else’s mistake’.

The song touches on themes of accountability (‘No sorrow for the unaccountable’), diversity, equity, and inclusion (‘No tolerance for intolerance’), no effort to communicate (‘Deplore the dialogue’), and decisions that very few have a say in.

It’s the compound effect of all these that impacts us. The title – ‘Dark Matter’ – may be a metaphor for the negative forces that influence the world the world we live in. 

Listen to Pearl Jam – ‘Dark Matter’

Pearl Jam – Dark Matter (Official Visualizer).

Written by Vinklarek on

Petr 'Pete' Vinklárek writes mainly about music. Prior to entering the digital industry, he taught Translation Studies & British and American Cinema at a university. In his spare time, he hikes, listens to podcasts, watches films, and writes poetry. Petr studied the English Language and Literature at The University of Ostrava; his master’s thesis covered some aspects of Warren Zevon's work.

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