Release dateSeptember 18, 2009 (Europe), September 20, 2009 (U.S.A.)
Vedder titled the album as an homage to an oddly named typewriter key that fell out of fashion 50 years ago. The frontman, who still uses typewriters for lyric writing and personal correspondence, says he got upset when he saw vintage typewriter keys being used as jewelry. "For me it was like shark fin soup: 'You're killing typewriters for a bracelet!' " he says.
Producer Brendan O'Brien
Pearl Jam turned to a familiar face when it came time to record: Brendan O'Brien. The band recorded "Backspacer" in Los Angeles and Atlanta with the producer, who also worked on "Vs." and "Vitalogy" but hadn't produced a Pearl Jam album since 1998's "Yield."
Pearl Jam's members quickly realized what they'd been missing, as O'Brien provided crucial input on arrangements; played piano, keyboard and percussion; and put together orchestrations for delicate Vedder songs like the acoustic guitar-powered "Just Breathe" and the gut-punch finale "The End."
Always known for elaborate album packaging, Pearl Jam turned to political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, whom Vedder met at a 2000 Ralph Nader rally, to create the album's visuals. Nine pieces of Tomorrow's artwork are scattered across various Internet sites, and fans can drag-and-drop them onto a grid on Pearl Jam's site to receive a free download of a demo of album track "Speed of Sound."
Available Formats CD,
Vinyl, Rockband Download, iTunes
Tracklist, lyrics and tabs
GONNA SEE MY FRIENDS2.48 Words: Vedder - Music: Vedder Lyrics
"Musical highlights on "Backspacer" include the opening one-two combo of "Gonna See My Friend," a furious Stooges-style garage blast "
JOHNNY GUITAR2:50 Words: Vedder - Music: Cameron/Gossard Lyrics
"Johnny Guitar' is almost an homage to Elvis Costello in terms of Ed's phrasing. That is another Matt Cameron song with a crazy beat, but Ed glues it together with his vocal melody" (Stone Gossard @ Billboard)
JUST BREATHE 3:35 Words: Vedder - Music: Vedder Lyrics
"Is a gorgeous ballad based on an instrumental from Vedder's "Into the Wild" soundtrack" (Billboard)
AMONGST THE WAVES 3:58 Words: Vedder - Music: Gossard Lyrics
" "The End" is an aching love song that closes the album on a startling lyric: "My dear/I'm here/But not much longer" (Billboard)
At 11 songs and less than 37 minutes, "Backspacer" is the leanest and meanest Pearl Jam album yet. "At one of our gigs, without flashpots and electricity, there's only so much room for those more difficult listening songs," Vedder says with a laugh. "That was one reason why we kept the arrangements lean. The songs come off more like sparkling water than pea soup, and I think that's good for our group right now."
Interesting notes: "Got Some" was perfermed at 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien' on June 1st, 2009; "The Fixer" is the song that the band taped at the end of May at The Showbox in Seattle for the Target a; "Unthought Known" is a song written by Vedder and presented during his solo tour last year, while "The End" is another song recently performed by the singer during his current US solo tour.
"The Fixer" 7" White vinyl, 45 rpm record and CD
Street date: 8/24
Radio release: July 20
Side A: The Fixer
Side B: Supersonic
"Just Breathe/Got Some" Side A: Just Breathe
Side B: Got Some
"Amongst The Waves "
Side A: Amongst The Waves
Side B: The End
VideoPearl Jam's MySpace page and YouTube channel have been streaming a cool promotional video, directed by Danny Clinch, documenting the making of "Backspacer". All band members are interviewed and you can also catch the band rehearsing"Got Some", "Just Breathe" and "The Fixer" in studio:
An official video for "The Fixer" has also been streaming. Directed by Cameron Crowe, it was filmed in May2009 at the Showbox in Seattle:
Straight from pearljam.com: "Pearl Jam premiered 06.30 their new music video “Amongst the Waves” in conjunction with the launch of Pearl Jam’s new web page www.pearljam.com/oceans. The third single from Backspacer, “Amongst the Waves” was created by our friends at VOLCOM and is streaming for free from www.pearljam.com/oceans and at www.nationalgeographic.com. The launch “Amongst the Waves” is part of Pearl Jam’s larger effort to highlight www.pearljam.com/oceans and raise awareness on the efforts of various organizations working diligently on ocean preservation. Beginning July 6th, “Amongst the Waves” will be available for sale on iTunes with proceeds from the U.S. sale of the video benefiting partner organization Conservation International's Ocean Campaign".
A new Pearl Jam video has been released in July on the band's YouTube channel. It's a live version of "Unthought Known" filmed in Berlin on June 30 using a MacBook that Vedder brought on stage, driven by an operator (Len Skapp). Interesting credits: Wes C. Addle (aka Ed Vedder) and Bernard Shakey (aka Neil Young)!
ExtraA note from Universal explained that fans who purchase the new studio album ‘Backspacer' on CD or from iTunes will be able to download two entire Pearl Jam concerts from a selection of 11 shows. The gigs available for download with the purchase of ‘Backspacer' are: Halifax (22/09/05), Philadelphia (03/10/05), Santiago (21/11/05), Chicago (17/05/06), Grand Rapids (19/05/06), Camden (28/05/06), East Rutherford (06/03/06), San Francisco (16/07/06), New York (25/06/06), Hartford (27/06/08) and Mansfield (28/06/08). Both the limited edition and standard CD features an exclusive Ebridge which gives fans nearly five hours of additional audio. This exclusive giveaway marks the first-time an artist has allowed fans to access their live music vault while purchasing a new album. The live concert audio can be accessed by inserting the new ‘Backspacer' into a personal computer or by clicking the link provided by iTunes with the album purchase.
Which label will release the band's next album?The band's next release will come without a U.S. label, but a consortium of partners, including Target as the "big box" retail partner. "We'll have a lot of partners," said Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis, who confirmed that deals were also finished or in the works with an online retailer, a mobile partner, a gaming company and with a network or possibly networks of indie retail stores. Internationally, the album will be released via Universal/Island Records and, obviously, it will be for sale via Pearl Jam's fan club, Ten Club.
Pearl Jam with Basie the dog, Seattle, WA (Jan 29/2009)
Pearl Jam at the Warehouse, Seattle, WA (Jan 29/2009)
Pearl Jam with Basie the dog, Seattle, WA (Jan 29/2009)