Inside The Album: Pearl Jam’s ‘Lightning Bolt’ [First Listen]

Author: Sean McEntee

After a series of countdown clocks and announcements and the release of the single “Mind Your Manners” this summer, Pearl Jam’s tenth studio album Lightning Bolt is streaming now on iTunes, a week earlier than the original October 15 release date. Lightning Bolt is the band’s follow up to 2009’s Backspacer, and according to guitarist Mike McCready in an interview with Total Guitar, it’s been an album roughly two years in the making.

The album was produced by Brendan O’Brien, who has been with Pearl Jam for nearly two decades, and the writing and recording process was on going for years. McCready told Total Guitar that seven songs were completed a couple years ago with the rest of the album being completed earlier this year. In the interview, he added the break in the process was good for the album, and taking the time to meet with O’Brien and the rest of the band enhanced the work when they returned to the studio later on. A large portion of Lightning Bolt’s sound and themes can be attributed to the weather of the band’s hometown, Seattle.

In a short film about the album created by Danny Clinch, the band talks more in-depth about the writing for Lightning Bolt. “It’s an arduous process, and I go at it every waking hour and maybe a few while I’m sleeping,” Vedder said in the film. “Everyone’s kind of playing out of their minds on this record.” The band agrees the single “Sirens” is the song they are most proud of.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Vedder explained the goal for making Lightning Bolt stretched beyond making the best Pearl Jam record to date and instead shoots right for the top: to be the best record. Period.

Along with Vedder’s recent comments regarding gun owners and the second amendment, Pearl Jam is going to continue to make headlines as they kick off their North American tour this Friday in Pittsburgh, ending sometime in early December.

Watch Danny Clinch’s short film about Lightning Bolt:

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