Eddie Vedder has confirmed an eye-popping roster of special guests for his forthcoming solo album, Earthling, including Elton John on the track “Picture” and Stevie Wonder, Ringo Starr and Vedder’s own father, the late Edward Severson Jr., on as-yet-unspecified songs. As tipped here Tuesday, Vedder has also released the third single from the project, “Brother the Cloud,” which he co-wrote with album producer Andrew Watt as well as multi-instrumentalist Josh Klinghoffer and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith.
A multi-faceted rock track with a powerful finish, “Brother the Cloud” is already generating discussion as to the identity of its subject. Speculation centers around the song being about Vedder’s brother Chris, who died in an accident in 2016, as well as late Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell, who died by suicide in May 2017. Vedder broke his silence about both incidents during a November 2020 interview with Howard Stern, when he admitted he was still struggling to process the losses.
“There’s no previous reference for this level of pain / I can’t feign indifference, can’t look away,” Vedder sings. “The years they go by / The hurt I still hide / If I look okay, it’s just the outside.” The song builds to a gripping conclusion, with Vedder intoning, “But should you ever leave this earth before me / I doubt this highly / Do for me, what I’d do for you / Put your arms round my brother, my friend / Say for me … for me … fuck you.”
Earthling will be released on February 11 by Seattle Surf/Republic and can be pre-ordered here. John’s contribution on “Picture” was preceded by Vedder’s guest appearance on the track “E-Ticket” from John’s October 2021 album The Lockdown Sessions, which was also produced by Watt.
Vedder is scheduled to begin a short North American tour in support of Earthling on February 3 in New York, backed by his new solo band the Earthlings, which features Watt, Klinghoffer, Smith, multi-instrumentalist Glen Hansard and bassist Chris Chaney.
Pre-order the album here.