Pearl Jam Share ‘Retrograde’ Video Starring Greta Thunberg

Pearl Jam have released a new animated music video for “Retrograde” starring Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg as a fortune teller.

The visual, which runs for almost six minutes, shows a man peering into a crystal ball in a fortune teller’s shop and sees a series of climate change-triggered disasters playing havoc on the planet.

The man sees rising seas engulf New York City, the Eiffel Tower, the London Bridge and Seattle’s Space Needle. Pearl Jam’s members and other global citizens, who pop up like tarot cards on a table, also meet the same fate.

The video, produced by Grace and directed by Emmy award-winning Australian filmmaker Josh Wakely, ends with the omen: “It’s gonna take much more than ordinary love.”

In an interview with Variety, Wakely detailed the making of the video. He said that the project was originally planned for a live-action format, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the team to adjust the production with a mixture of animation and motion-capture.

“Several times, I wondered if I’d have to call the band and tell them I couldn’t do it,” Wakely told Variety. “I would walk into my basement studio at 8 am and leave at 2 pm, with Zoom running pretty much the entire time. But it was an amazing team effort. And it remains pretty definitively the vision I set out in the script long before COVID was a word I understood.”

“She never had to act a frame, but she provided that emotion I was looking for. It was a huge thrill to see an email in my inbox from her saying that she loved it,” he told Variety about Thunberg’s part and her feedback.

Wakely said “Retrograde” marks one of his high points on the band’s 11th studio album. “Something Pearl Jam has done so extraordinarily well for 30 years is to speak truth to power and fire warning shots,” he said. “Several other [Gigaton] songs spoke to me, but this one kept me up at night.”

“Retrograde” is the fourth single from the band’s 11th studio album Gigaton, released in March.

(Photo: Danny Clinch)

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