Pearl Jam's ninth studio album, Backspacer, is on pace to become the band's first Number One album on Billboard's Top 200 chart since 1996's No Code. According to Billboard.biz, Backspacer is expected sell in the 175,000-200,000 range, enough to give Pearl Jam their first Number One in 13 years, but not enough to hit the 279,000 the band's self-titled album sold in 2006 when it debuted at Number Two (Pearl Jam was beaten out by Tool's 10,000 Days for the top spot).
The album's strong sales showing is notable because Backspacer is Pearl Jam's first release without the backing of a major label; the album is exclusive to Target, iTunes, indie record stores and the band's own Ten Club. Throughout their nearly two-decade career, Pearl Jam's albums have typically found their way to the upper levels of the charts: 1993's Vs. and 1994's Vitalogy both topped out at Number One, while Ten, Yield, Binaural and Pearl Jam all peaked at Number Two. Riot Act remains the band's lone studio album not to reach One or Two, debuting at Number Five in 2002.
Pearl Jam have also teamed with Target for a new, limited-edition T-shirt featuring Tom Tomorrow's "astronaut playing drums" illustration from Backspacer's cover art. All proceeds from sales of the shirt will benefit the Feeding America charity. According to the comments on the Pearl Jam Website, these shirts are pretty hard to find, so head on over to Target sooner rather than later.
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