Pearl Jam will release its eighth studio album, a self-titled effort, May 2 via J Records. The set will be preceded by the Eddie Vedder-penned single "World Wide Suicide," which will be delivered March 8 to U.S. rock radio outlets. Beginning at 6 a.m. ET that morning, the track will be available for free download for two days from the band's official Web site. It will arrive March 14 at leading digital retailers.
"Pearl Jam," the track list for which is still being finalized, was produced by the band with Adam Kasper, the same combination that worked on Pearl Jam's 2002 Epic swan song "Riot Act." More time passed -- three-and-a-half-years -- between the release of that album and the new set than with any other project in the Pearl Jam discography.
In another first, the band took two breaks from the studio to tour, first in the fall of 2004 on the Vote for Change trek and again last fall when it embarked on extended visits to Canada and South America.
"It's been a difficult record and it's like sometimes the harder something is, then the more valuable it becomes," Vedder said in a Brazilian radio interview last November. "It's easily the best stuff we've done but also some of the hardest stuff. It's very aggressive, because again, it's kind of a product of what it's like to be an American these days. It's pretty aggressive, especially when you turn it loud."
Recording in a series of concentrated chunks allowed the group to revisit and add to songs, guitarist Mike McCready told Billboard.com last April. "I've woken up a few times and had a riff going in my head that I really liked, say, of [bassist] Jeff [Ament]'s or something," he said. "It's like, OK, cool. That one is sticking in my head. I want to keep doing that. Let's do that. Whereas before, you'd just do it and it'd be done."
Pearl Jam will tour extensively this year, but dates have yet to be announced. Since its 2003 "Riot Act" tour, the group has grossed nearly $36 million from 68 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore, 23 of them sellouts.
iTunes Top Downloads -- February 20, 2005 This is a moment in time snapshot of the current top downloads from iTunes. We take a snapshot each week at the same time and post it here. To preview the songs, click on a link.