Lightning Bolt is Pearl Jam's tenth album released on October 15th, 2013. The album poetically follows a more aggressive and darker themed background than Backspacer, but at the same time gives continuation to the last album, despite cannot be considered a Backspacer 2. Lightning Bolt addresses critics on religion and humanity, heavy punk influenced songs, love, existential and nature songs that are really connected with the last album, but always with the shadow of death behind the frailty of the ephemerous life.
After four years from Backspacer, Pearl Jam finally released a new album, even starting a countdown on their official site. Many interviews have been released about the album, and some songs got specifically coments from their compositors, like Mike McCready on Mind Your Manners and Stone Gossard on Let The Records Play. Producer Brendan O'Brien returned working with the band, just like keyboardist Boom Gaspar. Violinist Ann Marie Calhoun is responsible for string arrangements.
Lightning Bolt emerges as another masterpiece from the band, more agressive than the previous one, but evolves to a more romantic and existential themed album as it reaches its end. Starting with two religious critic songs, Getaway and Mind Your Manners, they are followed by My Father's Son, another song that plays on the relation of father and son, something very special on Eddie's life. Sirens comes as a pure strong love song, long forgotten on the bands compositions and probally one of the strongest, followed by the song that gives the name to the album. Connected to Lightning Bolt, Infallible comes as the sole critic on human selfishness and our talent to let big things go for believing nothing can beat us. At this point, the album becomes more existential, addressing songs about life and its movement (Pendulum), connection with the world (Swallowed Whole), and after a break of Let The Records Play, it presents a version of Sleeping By Myself from Eddie's Ukulele Songs. Ending the album, two very existential and calm songs,Yellow Moon and Future Days, closing Lightning Bolt as a deep, existential but also agressive and critic album, always a Pearl Jam identity.
According to Stone here, there "was some sort of uncouncious effort to not create Backspacer 2". This explain the dark themed, sometimes hidden, content of Lightning Bolt, as an exemple of this, death is directly mentioned in 8 of 12 songs. On Backspacer, death was already a theme and this effort of not producing a second album, just like the other, was an intention to do not musically copy the latter, but poetically Lightning Bolt completes the album, specially after The End.
- Mind Your Manners
- My Father's Son
- Lightning Bolt
- Swallowed Whole
- Let The Records Play
- Sleeping By Myself
- Yellow Moon
- Future Days
- Album's artwork was made by Don Pedleton;
- All of the songs include many subliminal messages connected to the songs;
- Mind Your Manners was the first song to be revealed;
- Sleeping By Myself is the same song from Eddie Vedder's Ukulele Songs but in another version.
- Getaway, Sirens, Lightning Bolt, Swallowed Whole, Let The Records Play and a demo of Future Days have been leaked.