Pearl Jam will return in 2020 with their first studio album in over seven years. Here’s everything we know about Gigaton.

Gigaton [ giguh-tuhn, jig– ] is defined as:

  • one billion tons. (Abbreviation: GT)
  • a unit of explosive force equal to one billion (109) tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT).

On Friday, January 10, the band dropped their first hint: an image of the band’s name written almost like an ECG.

The second hint came the day after, on January 11, when the band posted an image of three flames in a triangular layout.

Shortly afterwards, Pearl Jam 10 Club members were surprised by an email inviting them on a virtual scavenger hunt on the band’s website.

A world map included eleven pinned cities from around the world using the same flame image as used before. The cities included Toronto, New York, Seattle, Mexico City, Los Angeles (Venice Beach), Sao Paulo, Santiago, Berlin, London and Paris

Sydney was the eleventh city marked, but the flame was turned upside down to create a heart, most likely in respect of the current Australian wildfires.

Each location listed had a mural waiting for fans of what appeared to be an ice cap.


When viewed with a special Facebook and Instagram filter, the image began to move.

The image used is a photograph captured by Canadian photographer Paul Nicklen of water running off an ice cap on the island of Nordaustlandet, in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago.

Photo by Paul Nicklen. “Ice Waterfall” Svalbard, Norway, 2014

Nicklen is not only a photographer, but also a film maker and marine biologist. The photo was taken while he was on assignment for National Geographic in 2014. His image is often used by Al Gore during his climate change talks.

In 2014, Nicklen co-founded SeaLegacy, a non-profit organization working towards ocean conservation.

In April 2017, Nicklen told Bill Moyer, “Ten years ago I’d say the word ‘climate change’ in a lecture and people would kind of roll their eyes. The problem with humans is we sort of deny, deny, deny, panic and right now we’re in the denial phase.”

Three years later, it looks as though Nicklen and Pearl Jam have teamed up.

So where does the name Gigaton come in to play? According to the NASA – Sea Level Change Observations from Space report, Greenland loses 280 gigatons of ice per year on average, and Antarctica has lost almost 120 gigatons a year with indications that both melt rates are increasing. A single gigaton of water would fill about 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools; each gigaton represents a billion tons of water.

Pearl Jam have been long-time activists for climate and social change. This year, the band will be allocating a large portion of their tour profits to invest in environmental projects to offset the emissions made while travelling.

On Sunday, January 19, 10 Club members began receiving emails with song titles off the new album with the promise that a “new single coming January 22”. That’s this Wednesday!


On January 20, Pearl Jam shared the full track listing for the new album.

On January 22, the band unleashed the first song off the album, “Dance of the Clairvoyants”.

That’s all that we know… for now.



Filed under: Gigaton, New Music Discovery, Pearl Jam, YFL, your first listen