Pendulum – Pearl Jam

Pendulum - Pearl Jam

Lightning Bolt, Pearl Jam’s tenth studio album, was released on October 11, 2013. Produced by Brendan O’Brien, it features a more experimental sound that guitarist/songwriter Stone Gossard explained came naturally as a result of the band’s comfort with the composing and recording process. He explained that their collective familiarity led to “a slight return to some of the more sort of peculiar things we did, say, between No Code and Binaural.” Guitarist Mike McCready offered that the album had an underlying Pink Floyd/punk rock vibe. Thematically, singer/songwriter Eddie Vedder was mostly focused on presenting his feelings on aging and mortality.

“Pendulum” is a somber song that exemplifies Vedder’s conceptual approach to Lightning Bolt. It creaks eerily back and forth, musically replicating the perpetual passage of time. A ghostly piano line exaggerates each fading moment and is accompanied by the insistent rumble of a foreboding drum beat that rolls ominously like distant thunder. “Pendulum” describes the wasting of time that results from living without purpose and the complications that increasingly cloud life as we grow older. The thoughts are wistfully communicated by Eddie Vedder’s starkly confidential delivery and masterfully captured by the shadowy reverb strewn guitar work of Mike McCready. While the song is funereal in feel, it is profoundly beautiful for its ability to capture a distinct mood, the sadness and despair that are part of the human condition.

“Can’t know what’s high till you’ve been down so low
The future’s bright lit up with no where to go
To and fro the pendulum throws
We are here and then we go
My shadow left me long ago
Understand what we don’t know
This might pass..This might last
This may grow
Easy come and easy go
Easy left me a long time ago
I’m in the fire but I’m still cold
Nothing works, works for me anymore
To and fro the pendulum throws
To and fro the pendulum throws.”