Pearl Jam has been proudly iconoclastic for years—releasing records on vinyl, eschewing music videos, “bootlegging” concerts, and fighting Ticketmaster—but they’re getting old. So it surprises Jonah Weiner that The Fixer, the single from the band’s new album Backspacer, is “by far the most exciting track the band has released in years,” he writes for Slate. And the rub: It's sold exclusively at Target, with ringtones available from Verizon.
“The irony is obvious,” Weiner writes. “The Fixer is a great song about integrity that comes to us courtesy of the Target Corporation.” But come on: “Is it meaningful to argue that a band that spent 14 years recording for Sony has, with a Target deal, sold out?” The situation just shows how "the striking degree to which musical 'integrity'—always something of a free-floating notion, anyway—is being redefined" amid dismal sales. Pearl Jam is far from the only band guilty of seeking "new profit avenues" to make up the difference.