In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder discussing the making of their upcoming album Lightning Bolt, the state of the band, and of Rock music itself. Vedder told the magazine that despite their breaks and many side ventures, Pearl Jam is "more of a group than ever, and the space in between is healthy. It's a big part of everybody's life, to be playing music, at all times. And at the same time, it's important to us to be part of our families, to not be absent fathers. Also, actually putting out the record is a little bit of a shock to the system. That's what we remember as being traumatic. Probably, when you take longer between records, there's more importance placed on the records. Maybe the next thing you do is put out another one in the next year – just put it out, and not have a buildup."
Vedder says the new album has a lot of lyrics about mortality and aging because "They say to write what you know. I think that's maybe one thing that we all know [laughs]. It's living while you're alive, and living to the day you die, and being cognizant of the end, and you might lead a more appreciative life, if that's part of your approach."
He also talked about writing mellower music, such as his ukelele solo tunes and the band's new single, "Sirens." Vedder said there is more "sentimentality" in his lyrics nowadays, adding, "For years, it was playing word games and expressing those emotions, but doing it in such a way that was cryptic and where Mark Arm from Mudhoney would still have some modicum of respect for me. But nowadays, it's more like sitting down and writing a song, and whatever comes out, comes out."
The Rolling Stone interview turned to Rock's place in the music world, with Vedder bringing up the MTV VMAs, and saying, "These pop songs almost feel like tabloid journalism, in a way. It's crap that people seem to like. And I don't know if it has meaning. I don't know if one of the pop songs of the summer has any fiber in it. People are consuming it, and is it healthy? I don't know. Maybe it's some kind of way of taking themselves away from their problems. Maybe there's some healthy property or some restorative property that I'm not receiving. It seems like it has a really high fructose content."
He continued, "Bono talked a lot about, you know, 'We can't let rock & roll become a niche.' I thought, 'Well, that's kind of crazy. I have more faith in it than that.' But I can definitely see his point. When there's a pop song that seems a little bit better than others, it's usually one that has some real guitar, real drums in it. I still feel like the best stuff has natural elements."