The boys in Pearl Jam are back, releasing a video for “Retrograde,” the latest track from their 11th studio record, "Gigaton," and it's quite an emotional doozy, addressing the worst outcomes of climate change.
In the animated video, a traveler drives to the parking lot of a strip mall on a dark and rainy night and enters a "Psychic" storefront. He faces the fortuneteller and cocks his head to look into the crystal ball, then is overwhelmed by images of rising seas and other climate calamities.
The band teamed up with director Josh Blakely for the video, and the animation is beautiful and dark and compelling, like watching an oil painting come to life.
PJ frontman Eddie Vedder, whow spent much of his youth in the North County Coastal area of San Diego, has been outspoken about climate change for many years. During the band's 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech. he said, “Climate change is real. That is not fake news. And we cannot be the generation the history of the world will look back on and wonder why they didn’t do everything humanly possible to solve the biggest crisis in our time.”
Vedder echoes that sentiment in the lyrics of "Retrograde," singing, “Seven seas are rising / Forever future's fading out / Feel the retrograde all around.”
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The band members make animated appearances in the video, each of them walking out of tarot cards, which multiply to represent masses of indistinct people. In the final scenes of the “Retrograde” video, the fortune teller lifts her head from the crystal ball and reveals herself to be climate activist Greta Thunberg as the viewer witnesses scenes of floods in Manhattan, London, Paris, Seattle and Stonehenge, as well as melted polar ice caps and the raging Australian fires.
An animated neon sign lights up in the last few moments of the video with a call to action and a repeated lyric of the song:“It's gonna take much more than ordinary love to lift this up.”