Pearl Jam's Backspacer, which just got its exclusive release at Target stores on Sunday, is a lean, 11-track album that focuses less on the group's penchant for long live jams and more on intense, three-minute garage-rock tunes. In the age of epic double albums and never-ending streams of bonus tracks, it seems unusual for a rock act to keep it so efficient. That's not to say they took a more casual approach this time around — they kept things tight on purpose.
"We had about 17 to 20 ideas going into this project, and when we had 11 about finished, [producer] Brendan [O'Brien] and [frontman] Ed [Vedder] sat down and said, 'This looks like a really good record,' " guitarist Mike McCready told MTV News. "[Guitarist] Stone [Gossard] had been talking about wanting to have a record that was shorter and more concise, and I think we achieved that."
The inspiration to keep the album concise came mostly from their urge to capture the vibe of albums they loved growing up. "It hearkens back to our favorite records," McCready explained. "Aerosmith's Rocks had nine songs; all the old Van Halen albums had eight or nine songs. I'm dating myself, but those are really good records to me, and you don't have to have a lot of stuff on them."
So, will those other songs that didn't make the cut get banished to the bottom of the group's B-sides pile? Not quite. In fact, they've got big plans for those too. "We still have other songs that are out there that are from this session that we may do something with in about six months," McCready said.