Pearl Jam, some cool facts about the new songs from Dark Matter

Some cool facts and interesting news about the songs in Dark Matter, the 12th Pearl Jam studio album coming out April 19th.

Photo: Danny Clinch

These informations have been taken from articles appeared on MOJO and SPIN; from a recent CBS Sports interview with Jeff Ament and from our internal sources.

  • The record begins with the sound of a ball hitting a billiard cue. The sound was recorded by Eddie Vedder with his smartphone while playing billiards with his friend Sean Penn,
  • One of the first songs written for Dark Matter is the opening track Scared Of Fear, written on the first day of rehearsals, April 2021, in Andrew Watt’s home studio in Beverly Hills,
  • In Scared Of Fear Eddie sings We used to laugh/We used to sing/We used to dance/We used to believe, these lyrics might refer to the 90’s Seattle musical scene,
  • React, Respond is a fast paced track, dominated by Jeff Ament’s distorted bass, he is also the author of the song.
  • In Wreckage we can hear a Telecaster with an open G tuning played by Andrew Watt. He received suggestions on how to play it in the best way by no one less than Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones,
  • Upper Hand, the fifth song from the record, in which Eddie sings The distance to the end/Is closer now/Than it’s ever been, has a sound that takes us back to the Beatles’ Abbey Road era,
  • In Won’t Tell, Jeff ament plays a baritone guitar. The bassist wrote both the lyrics and the music for this song and was inspired by a dream he had featuring Joni Mitchell and Neil Young,
  • Running was initially titled Big Sandy Punk and is the fastest and shortest song in Dark Matter. Keith Cameron form MOJO compared it to a FUGAZI song,
  • Between Running and Waiting For Stevie there is a little snippet of an unfinished song that comes from the first recordings in July 2021. The band eventually decided to keep it as it was,
  • Waiting For Stevie, one of Jeff Ament’s favorite songs from the new album, has a wall of guitars very similar to the ones in Ten. The song is about a girl who doesn’t feel appreciated by her friends and finds relief and a sense of connection in experiencing live shows. Gossard defined it as an unintentional Soundgarden tribute,
  • Got To Give is Jeff Ament favorite song from the album,
  • Something Special, co-written with Josh Klinghoffer, was inspired by Eddie’s daughters Olivia and Harper,
  • Setting Sun, the closing track in which Eddie Vedder sings We could become one last setting sun/Or be the sun at the break of dawn/Let us not fade, is a ballad that according to Mike McCready has the same mood as Long Road,
  • During the recordings of Dark Matter Andrew Watt wore a different Pearl Jam t-shirt from past tours every day,
  • During the CBS Sport interview, Jeff Ament affirmed that the secret of the longevity of the band is in the many breaks they took in the mid 90’s when things got too crazy and in the magic they still experience every time they meet for rehearsals and start to play together,
  • The process of creating Dark Matter was very similar to the one of the first two records, when the band would meet without any already finished song,
  • Eddie wrote in studio almost all the lyrics for Dark Matter, 90% of them was written on the same day the band wrote the new songs,
  • The very foundation of all the songs from the new album have been laid in the first two hours of the first day they met in Andrew Watt home studio in July 2021,
  • Even if the official press release and the MOJO article both report a different timeline, the record was recorded during three weeks. The first in July 2021 and the other two in March 2023, in the Malibu recording Studio Shangri-la, owned by Rick Rubin,
  • Eddie revealed to MOJO that “At this stage in a career, in life you lean on the relationships with the people who are still around,” he says. “It really hits you when you are in a situation where that person would be there. And you’re sad for them that they’re not. But it makes you realise that you gotta be healthy: You want to be around for your kids. You want to make good records, and…”, Vedder adds brightly, “We might have one or two left“.

Sources: MOJO Magazine | SPIN | CBS Sports College Basketball