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Nearly 12,000 Days After Its 1st Single, Pearl Jam Sounds As Strong As Ever On Its Latest Release, "Dark Matter"


(Photo Credit - Pearl Jam Facebook Cover)


I will go out on a limb and say most musicians would bet against the idea of being around long enough to release music 32 & 1/2 years after their first song hit the airwaves. In the case of Pearl Jam, a staple of American music and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, not only have they lasted over three decades, but their latest single, "Dark Matter" (title track off the band's 12th studio album due out on 4/19/24 via Monkeywrench/Republic Records) has the energy and feel of its earliest material which is a bit of a departure from some more recent releases.


Beginning with a rolling Matt Cameron drum beat, followed by a heavy and infectious guitar riff, "Dark Matter" immediately tells the listener they're in for a raucous ride. For the sake of full transparency, I've been a Pearl Jam fan since the start, nearly 12,000 days ago, but haven't always been excited after hearing a new single. Sometimes it takes a while for a song to hit me and although it's rare in the case of Pearl Jam, sometimes I wound up not liking a song at all. I'm a fan but I'm objective. "Dark Matter" however, hit me hard from the first listen, and to my ears, it has everything a great Pearl Jam rocker should have. Consider me excited!


We all hear and feel music differently and the beauty of all art, music included, is that how we interpret it is subjective. I'm not going to break the song down part by part (other than the brief description I gave above) because what I hear won't necessarily be what you hear. I'd love to know what you think of it though so feel free to respond to this piece.


What I find so interesting about this track is that with so many years and miles behind the band, millions of fans around the globe have been anxiously awaiting its release. When Pearl Jam released its debut album Ten in 1991, the world didn't live under the constant ordinance of technology we do today. There was no way to know who wanted it, or more accurately, (other than Green River and Mother Love Bone fans), even knew it was coming out. In the pre-internet age, information moved at a snail's pace. In our current cultural environment, however, countless numbers of eager souls and ears were chomping at the bit for the band's latest effort.


I wrote a book called SLACKER - 1991, Teen Spirit Angst, and the Generation It Created (due 2024 via Inspired By You Books) in which the theme is how the early grunge and alternative music phenomenon of the early 80s (mainly in the underground) through the early 90s (the global explosion) had grabbed a hold of an entire generation and helped shape those kids into the adults they became over 30 years later. The anticipation and utter excitement I've seen around the world as folks were pining for this release is the proof of concept I discuss in the book.



 

Pearl Jam worked with producer Andrew Watt on their soon-to-be-released album and so far the results sound terrific. I think the choice to go with the 33-year-old native New Yorker was a smart decision for several reasons. Watt, originally from Long Island, NY, was only a year old when Ten was released. Too young to have followed the beginning of the band or the movement initiated out of Seattle, Watt grew up a Pearl Jam fan and was certainly inspired by them as he chose a path of playing, writing, recording, and producing music. In my opinion, sometimes getting the perspective of a fan whose life was partially shaped by the music an artist makes can lend some keen insight and help guide the band in ways others couldn't.


In addition, Watt has earned his stripes leading up to producing Dark Matter as he's worked with the likes of Post Malone, Lana Del Rey, Ozzy Osbourne, Miley Cyrus, Iggy Pop, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, and on Eddie Vedder's solo album Earthling. He was also named Consequence Magazine's "Producer of the Year" in 2022 and even brought home the "Producer of the Year" Grammy Award in 2021.



 

Music means so many things to so many people. It's not up to me as a writer to tell anyone what to think but I can share my opinion and I hope you will share yours as well when you hear Pearl Jam's latest single, "Dark Matter". The track is here if you'd like to check it out.


I've followed this band (and the bands the members were spawned from) since the late 80s and I've been inspired so much by them and the musical movement they helped create to become a music writer, cover live shows, including Lollapalooza in 2007, and now pen my first book. Whether it's Pearl Jam or another band or artist, I hope you have been lucky enough to have let music inspire you to do what you love, trust me, it's worth it! Life is short and we must do what we know we're meant to do...


"You're running away,

We're pulling apart,

In all of this, dark matter"

- Pearl Jam/"Dark Matter"


 

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For a signed copy of my forthcoming book, SLACKER - 1991, Teen Spirit Angst, and the Generation It Created, reserve your copy here.























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