Yesterday, veteran rockers Pearl Jam returned with the wide release of their first song in years, “Can’t Deny Me.” (It was previously available to members of their fan club.) After a period of silence from the band, it found them no less impassioned than at other points in their career when the world was in a tumultuous and precipitous place. It’s a wide-eyed, defiant song that marks the band’s first attempt at grappling with the Trump era — and, one would assume, it won’t be their last whenever a new album materializes.
Last night, Pearl Jam also returned to the stage for the first time in quite a while; their last show was back in August of 2016, if you don’t count their performance at their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction last year. Taking the stage in Chile, they debuted “Can’t Deny Me,” fittingly dedicating it to the students of Parkland. Delivering an intro in Spanish, Eddie Vedder talked about the nationwide protest planned for today, and also singled out Emma Gonzalez, who’s become one of the leaders amidst kids around the country calling for gun reform.
Later in the show, the group also dedicated a song to their friend and sometimes collaborator Chris Cornell. Though Vedder had paid tribute to Cornell onstage during his solo tour last year, this is the first time the whole band had been together to honor Cornell since his death last May. Appropriately, they chose the song “Come Back,” from their 2006 self-titled/Avocado album — a song that Vedder originally penned as a eulogy for his friend Johnny Ramone, and a song that remains poignant when they revisit it in order to remember another lost friend. Check out videos of both performances below.
A new album from Pearl Jam will presumably be out later this year. “Can’t Deny Me” is out now on Monkeywrench.