Eddie Vedder - Earthling
Friday Release # 131
Eddie Vedder's third solo album, coming out 11 years after "Ukulele Songs", released in 2011.
Let's start with the fact that we think "Earthling" is Eddie Vedder's real first solo album. Why?
Because the excellent "Into The Wild" from 2007 is actually a movie soundtrack. A minimalist album in which Eddie did almost everything, but mostly plays the mandolin. It was followed by "Ukulele Songs" which as its name implies. An album that relies mostly on songs composed and played on ukulele.
This is why we think "Earthling" can be seen as Eddie Vedder's first true solo album. His first album to be accompanied by a full backing band, assembled especially for the purpose of recording the album.
The band includes drummer Chad Smith and keyboardist and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, both from the "Red Hot Chili Peppers". The bass position is staffed by Andrew Watt, who is known from "California Breed" and who played the guitar and produced Ozzy Osbourne's "Ordinary Man" album. Also in this case Watt produces the album. Vedder's live shows lineup includes bassist Chris Chaney known from "Jane's Addiction" and as part of the "NHC" supergroup, as well as singer and guitarist Glen Hansard known from "Frames" and "Swell Season". Hansard has already collaborated with Vedder on the soundtrack to the movie "Flag Day" which was released in 2021.
The album also features a selection of well-known artists such as: Elton John, Ringo Starr, Stevie Wonder and Benmont Tench - Tom Petty's keyboardist, who play in the song "Long Way", so reminiscent of his original band.
If the recent albums of "Pearl Jam" are the product of compromises between the band members, especially in the face of Vedder's unconventional ambitions, then it seems that in this album Eddie Vedder takes full advantage of his creative freedom. This album has a collection of diverse songs, which feels like they were collected over the years, some may not have fit the musical line of "Pearl Jam", others have probably been rejected by it. What is certain is that most of the songs on the album are not the classic "Pearl Jam's" Eddie Vedder, and it is precisely there where Vedder's shine.
It is interesting to note, that the album's last song "On My Way" is a kind of Vedder duet with his father, whom he did not know. A disc with five songs including vocals of his father Edward Severson Jr., rolled into Vedder's hands. Vedder said that listening to his father's voice felt like he was leaving a message and he knew right then he had to do something with it.