Pearl Jam‘s Jeff Ament tries to escape flooding, fires and other form of life-threatening natural disasters in the grindhouse-inspired clip for his sinister new single, “Safe in the Car.” The track will appear on Ament’s upcoming solo album, Heaven/Hell.
“Safe in the Car” coheres around sludgy guitars and funereal organ. A string section adds a sweet veneer to the song’s chorus, but any sense of relief is undercut by Ament’s lyrics: “I don’t feel safe anymore,” he sings. Indie stalwart Angel Olsen provides additional vocals on the track, and Pearl Jam bandmates Matt Cameron and Mike McCready handle drums and guitar, respectively.
The video for “Safe in the Car” is set entirely in Ament’s vehicle. Various images of doom recede behind him: thunder and lightning, crashing ocean waves, bursts of flame. “I was seeing Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – you’re driving to the coast and you’re trying to get away from the nuclear winter and you have your dogs in the car and you’re just trying to escape this horrible apocalypse that just happened,” Ament tells Rolling Stone.
“[The directors] asked me what I wanted [the video] to look like and the first thing that came to mind was grindhouse,” the Pearl Jam bassist adds. “I always loved the super high-contrast, dark look of that. It’s the world coming to an end and trying to have a sense of humor about it.”
Heaven/Hell is due out on May 10th. It’s Ament’s third solo LP and first since 2012’s While My Heart Beats. Copies will be available for pre-order Thursday via Pearl Jam’s website.
Ament says the new album came together almost by accident. “I usually end up having a group of songs that goes to the band, and then there are songs that don’t feel right, or they feel too personal,” he explains. “Maybe I get too far down the road with them lyrically, and I’m either apprehensive to give them to Ed [Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam’s lead singer], or it just feels better for it to be in my voice. You keep working on these songs, and all of a sudden you have maybe a little group of three or four.”
With a few songs complete, Ament decided to keep writing, composing mostly on piano instead of guitar. “Then [the music] really started to coalesce,” he adds, “and feel like, ‘OK, there’s a record in this.'”