Pearl Jam Head to the Studio for 2009 Album

February 5, 2009 6:27 PM ET

In May, Rolling Stone first reported that Pearl Jam were sketching out songs for their ninth studio album — their first with producer Brendan O'Brien since 1998's Yield. Now those plans are more concrete: Eddie Vedder and Co. are close to hitting the studio to lay down an album they plan to self-release in the U.S. without a label. "The new record feels good so far — really strong and uptempo, stuff we can sink our teeth into," Vedder told RS' Brian Hiatt when visited the band in Seattle for an in-depth look at the upcoming record — read the full story in the new issue, on newsstands now.

Pearl Jam are also busy readying the deluxe reissue of their 1991 debut, Ten, which his stores March 24th in four editions. When the album came out, David Fricke directed listeners to focus on Vedder's voice: "a ragged, enraged mongrel blend of Robert Plant and James Hetfield — and the Pearls' surprising, and refreshing, melodic restraint."

Looking back at Pearl Jam's beginnings made us think of the awesome 1993 profile of the band Cameron Crowe wrote for this magazine. Crowe grabbed the band while they were prepping to record their second album, as they casually discussed releasing "Daughter" as a single, and mused on the prospect of blowing up. "If somebody wants to say, 'You guys used to be my favorite band, but you got too big' — to me, the problem with getting too big is not, innately, you get too big and all of a sudden you stop playing good music," Stone Gossard said. "The problem is, when you get too big, you stop doing the things you used to do." Read the full feature here:

The World Against 5

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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