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Song Spotlight: Pearl Jam - "Speed of Sound"

Note: As of November 2009, this contest has ended, and I can no longer find a link to the "Speed of Sound" demo.

If you're a Pearl Jam fan, you probably already know that they have a new album coming out in September called Backspacer.  "The Fixer", the catchy first single from the album, is in heavy rotation on rock radio, and various other songs from the album have been played live by the band and by Eddie Vedder in his solo shows.  I have to admit I was a little disappointed when "The Fixer" was not made available for download (although you can still stream it from Pearl Jam's official website, and probably a few other places); I guess I was spoiled when they made "Worldwide Suicide", the first single from their last album, available for free.

Today, though, I found out (via Twitter) about a cool new game on the Pearl Jam website.  If you head to this page, you will be presented with a 3x3 grid of numbered tiles along with the following instructions:
"Find 9 images from Backspacer that have been placed all around the web. Once you find an image, click it and it will be added to the grid on the left.
Find & click all 9 Backspacer images and get a free download!"

Now, when they say "all around the web", they mean it.  To be honest, I don't know how anyone could possibly track down all of the images on their own; fortunately, with the Internet being what it is, there are already a few complete lists of the necessary websites floating around, so if you don't feel like doing all the work yourself, I will include my own list in this post.

First, though, let's talk a bit about the free download that they promise.  "Speed of Sound" is a song that will be included on Backspacer; however, the version available for download here is a solo demo version by Eddie Vedder.  The song is very much in line with Vedder's work on the Into the Wild soundtrack from a couple of years ago (actually, it would fit very well on that album).  Most of the song is just Vedder and an acoustic guitar, but there are some beautiful vocal harmonies and some sparse electric guitar lines that really add to the melancholic feel of the song.  I quite like the song so far, and I am very curious as to how it will sound on the album; whatever the rest of the band decides to do with it, it could well end up being one of the highlights of the album.

Now, onto the list.  Out of fairness to those who would like to try and play the game by themselves (and I sincerely wish you the best of luck if you choose to do this - the promise of a free Pearl Jam download was simply too overwhelming for me, causing me to look for all the hints I could find), I've decided to use to shorten the URLs.  This way, those who are impatient (like me) can simply click on any or all of the links to go exactly where they need to go, while the game will not be spoiled for those who wish to play fairly.  Without further ado...

Clicking on any of these links should take you to a page that contains one piece of the Backspacer artwork (if it doesn't, please let me know right away and I will do my best to fix it).  Clicking on the image will take you back to the Backspacer page on the band's website, this time with that piece of the puzzle filled in.  Once all 9 pieces are in place, the download link for "Speed of Sound" will appear.  However you decide to play the game, I hope you enjoy the song once you hear it.  Happy listening!


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