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So, I've ummed and ahhed about writing a music review for a while. Music is my biggest passion but I'm not sure how best to get my views down in words - I don't think shouting to the world "AHHH It's amazing, go and buy it immediately!" will suffice. So I thought I'd start with a review of my favourite album of all time (no pressure!).
"Ten" is Pearl Jam's debut album, released in 1991 on a relatively small budget. Now if you've never heard Pearl Jam before the best word to describe them is passionate. This is mainly shown by Eddie Vedder's (lead vocalist) raw, gritty and purely amazing voice. His tones are soothing yet angry, soft yet hard, beautiful yet snarly. You get a real sense of emotion from this album which is why I love it so much. From start to end you go through a real journey. And although some of the songs are pretty dark you can relate to lyrics in almost all of them. It's an in your face 90's rock album that barely gives you a moment to breathe.
Most of the songs began as instrumental jams that Vedder added lyrics to. The album deals with subjects such as suicide, depression and loneliness as well homelessness and psychiatric problems. For example "Jeremy" was inspired by a true story of a school boy who shot himself in front of his class. Although these are some dark issues to feature on an album Vedders melodic, deep voice leaves you completely captivated by the lyrics.
I'm not going to talk about each and every track because I will write far too much but I will mention some that really stand out for me personally. Firstly, the album has a two-part track "Master/Slave" that opens and closes the album. Both halves are instrumental and, surprisingly, are a real addition to the album.
An absolute masterpiece on the album is "Black"; it's such a powerful song and one I challenge anyone who's been through a tough break up not to relate to! That's speaking as someone who isn't a fan of break up songs! It's so harrowing. Listening to the lyrics gives you some gems likes "now my bitter hands chafe beneath the clouds of what was everything" "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life, I know you'll be the star in somebody else's sky, but why, why, why can't it be, oh, can't it be mine?" and "And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass, of what was everything". Not only are the lyrics incredible, the music is too. The piano at the end adds more emotion and the guitars switch keys between chorus and verse with a high melodic line from the bass. Outstanding. If you haven't heard this album and you're only going to listen to one, make it this one!
"Alive" is not only my favourite song on the album but one of my favourite of all time. Although it is a rather messed up song.. It's the first part of a Mum-Son trilogy, three songs about a young boy's life and how f*cked up it becomes (note: the third song, "Footsteps", is on another album). It starts with a young boy being told that the man he thought was his dad wasn't and that his real dad is dead. It quickly moves to his mum raping him. This song is incredible when played as loud as possible and it's my 'driving' song! The second of this trilogy is "Once" when the son is a messed up guy carrying a gun. Again, a really emotive song. The song starts off really eerie and then the guitars pick up with some stronger riffs and then POW Vedders voice comes smashing through showing the anger.
There's another song on the album where Vedder sings about his dad, "Release". This is the last song on the album and, for me, the most emotive. I imagine this to be a follow on from "Alive" and see it almost as a conversation that Vedder has with himself after finding out his real dad was dead. Lyrics such as " Oh, dear dad, can you see this now. I am myself, like you somehow. I'll ride the wave where it takes me. I'll hold the pain release me" are sung in the raw, gritty way that many have copied but only Vedder has really nailed. I can't help but sing along and when I do, I feel like the pain is my own. As stupid as that may sound, I just can't help it. It's that raw. No other song has ever made me feel like that.
A critically acclaimed album, with such quotes as that of Steve Huey when he called it a "flawlessly crafted hard rock masterpiece", that hits you in the face with raw passion and emotion. 'Ten' defines this era and the fact that they're still touring (I saw them last year and they blew me away!) stands testament to how brilliant they are. This is the only album I haev ever listened to and not ever skipped a single song. From Vedder's great lyrics and beautiful voice, to the outstanding solo's from the drummer and two guitarists. This album is a masterpiece and I urge you all to go and buy it immediately. Basically, I am just shouting "AHHH It's amazing, go and buy it immediately!" just in a much longer, drawn out ramble! I really hope my review goes some way to explain just how incredible this album is. Give it a listen! :)
After my graduation from university at the end of June this year I was overcome by a liberating sense of freedom and relief, a sense that my time was my own time and I could do whatever the hell I wanted with it. I started to read more books, fall back into my old hobbies and take up some new ones. I also began to widen my horizons musically, discovering new artists and sounds - a sort of musical epiphany, you might say and it began with my discovery of Pearl Jam.
I can't really believe that I hadn't heard of them up until July this year. After a few songs, I was blown away by their rawness and intensity, musically and lyrically. 'Ten' is an album which adds to my feelings of misplacement within my generation, feelings which make me want to go back to a time when music could be golden and almost revolutionary in spirit - hardly something I can say about rock music today.
Now really, I can listen to this album start to finish without complaint and speak of each track adoringly but in my opinion there is a selection of tracks which really stand out...
Apparently, this song is about a homeless guy which makes a lot of sense if you listen to the lyrics ('rests his head on a pillow made of concrete'). The song opens with terrific guitar riffs. There's something so explosive and energetic about this song, something which is reflected in the video where Eddie Vedder is practically swinging from the rafters. Makes me kinda' wish I was there.
I've heard that this song was partially about Vedder not knowing his biological father growing up which makes it very interesting lyrically. You've got a great story in there and I dunno' about you but this song makes me feel alive. Amazing stuff.
'Black', in my opinion, is the absolute gem of the album - a cathartic masterpiece. It takes all the painful emotions of having your heart ripped to shreds and turns it into a searingly beautiful song. Certainly the best song on the album if not Pearl Jam's best.
'Jeremy' is a blisteringly powerful track. Of course I could say this about many songs on this album but this one was based on the real-life story of a 15 year old boy who shot himself in front of his class mates. It leaves us with a song which tells us a lot about society and remains socially and politically relevant today. It reminds us of just how cruel and tormenting humanity can be...
This song is sublime and makes great use of ocean imagery to express the anguish of not being able to be with the one you love. After the ripping riffs and guitar solos of the previous tracks, there's something instantly calming about this song but just as powerful. This is a beautiful song and contains some of Vedder's best vocals...
All in all, 'Ten' is an epic album - sheer musical genius that deserves a place as one of the best rock albums of all time. I have fallen in love with Eddie Vedder's 'golden baritone' voice, the brilliant musicianship of the band on the whole and the way the meaning behind their songs really resonates. The songs are very heartfelt, dealing with human relationships and all their problems. This is why I think this album is very special, because not only does it have riffs and melodies which hook you in but it seems like the band members really poured their heart and soul into the words themselves. A piece of rock history not to be overlooked.
*~Thank you for reading my review :-)~*
*~Also published on Ciao - November 2010~*
Pearl Jam is an American rock band formed in 1990 in Seattle. Like many bands that came from that period Pearl Jam is described as Grunge. What this term exactly means I do not know but I would just describe Pearl Jam as (excellent) Rock. In 1991 they released their debut album called Ten and this was a huge success.
Let me say straight away that the lyrics are quite heavy. So is the song Even flow about the life of a homeless person and the song Black about a relationship that didn't work. Bit depressive songs and that can be a turn off. Personally I quite like when songs are more about the more dark side of life, while I'm quite a happy cheerful person! I love the way the singer of the band Eddie Veddar sings. He is very distinctive and has a warm deep voice. He's one of my favorite rock singers. It's not just his voice but you can definitely hear his passion when he sings. When he's angry or depressed you believe him straight away.
A few numbers that stood out for me:
The opener of the album begins quietly with a relaxed, quiet and deep bass. But it doesn't stay relaxed for long because the song begins almost immediately with Eddie Vedder sounding frustrated and angry. In the verse the instruments and vocals are reasonably quiet and makes me think of a person who can just control his anger. In the chorus they let it all out and Eddie throws out all his anger. A great powerful song.
2. Even Flow
This time the music starts slow but the lyrics are more depressing. It's about a homeless person who can't read and has a really hard life. He simply doesn't know what to do anymore. Should he give up or continue? The song starts with a soft slowly guitar and drums with a great bass. Quickly Eddie starts singing and again you can hear his anger in his voice. This time the chorus is heavier then the verses. The song has a great built up as it approaches the chorus.
A beautiful slow song. It has a deep relaxed bass and guitar play which almost sounds dreamy. After a while the guitar starts to play faster but it's doesn't become heavy. Then Eddie start to sing and goes along with the beat and all comes together. It's a short song but one of my favorites. I can picture myself sitting on a beach and staring towards the ocean.
One of the best end songs I have ever heard and one of my favorite songs from this wonderful album. It is a soft but intense song that begins with a soft guitar play with drums. The song starts nice and relaxed. After a while this continues and the music and the singing become more violently. The drums are faster and the guitar gets harder. Yet this does not affect the peacefulness that this song has. After the chorus, the music becomes as it was in the beginning but it does not take long before the chorus is back and even better that it gives me Goosebumps. For me it's a perfect end of the album. In terms of the lyrics of this number is also a more peaceful and softer than the rest of the album. Eddie Vedder speaks about his deceased father that he promises to see "on the other side" (death) again. Fantastic end!
A great album that I can recommend to everybody! Especially the vocals of Eddie Vedder makes me getting Goosebumps when I listen to this album. Musically it's all perfect and thanks to the hot production and catchy choruses this is a pretty accessible album. For me there are no negatives about this album.
This is the first, and one of the best albums that Pearl Jam have ever produced. This also has to be one of the greatest debut albums of all time.Pearl Jam formed in Seattle, Washington- with most members coming from two bands Green River and Mother Love Bone. They along with Nirvana were front runners in the grunge movement coming out of America at the time.Fronted by Eddie Veder Pearl Jam went global with this album.
The album kicks off with 'Once' a mixture of thrashing guitars and up tempo drums and aggressive lyrics. The second track 'Even Flow' is slightly more mainstream, and was released as a single. 'Alive' has delicate guitar intersperced with a sing-along chorus that gets every fan going. For me the 5th track 'Black' is the albums finest moment, you feel real tenderness and pain in Veders lyrics- a beautiful song.
The lead single on the album was 'Jeremy' which tells the tale of a high school kid who is bullied and unloved that commits suicide. The video was hard hitting and so successful that it won just about every award it could, prompting Pearl jam to shun music video's for the next three albums. In fact it wasn't until 1998 that they released anything other than live fottage of the band.
With the up tempo in your face 'Porch' aside the album draws towards its close with several further reaching tracks that add some real gravitas.
Overall an awesome example of a band at their purest rawest moment. Every Pearl Jam fan owns this album. But I would recommend it to anyone who likes good quality guitar driven rock.
Where it all began for one of the best bands to still be rocking today. The album claimed by many to be the best Pearl Jam album ever, though I disagree with this view.
For me this is the best debut album release in the last 20 years, but to say it's the best Pearl Jam have done would be doing them a disservice. While CD has the stand out moments that every Pearl Jam release does, sometimes the dynamics of the CD and the tracks as a collection are a bit messy, though this rawness is what you expect for a first release from a (then) young band.
This was the worlds introduction to Pearl Jam and as all PJ albums since have done, Ten covered many taboo subjects along the way. In this one CD we have High School suicides, Incest, mental illness and parental issues.
In Jeremy we are told the (true) story of a boy who was driven to the edge by his school mates and one day he walked into his class and shot himself. While many people think this song was about him killing his class mates, it's not, a simple watch of the video (which was later edited for MTV) has Jeremy putting the gun in his mouth and his classmates holding their hands up in an attempt to stop the blood hitting their face.
The ever popular Jeremy and Alive do their job well, you know the words, know the tune and can sing along, however the love song "Black" is where this CD reaches it's finest moment, and probably one of the best Pearl Jam tracks ever.
Every Pearl Jam will own this CD, every music fan should. The best debut album in the last 20 years.
I remember when Pearl Jam first released this album, some of their peers at the time looked down their noses and sneered - 'This is AOR' or 'Sounds like Journey' were two of the accusations leveled at the Seattle superstars. The rest of the world took them to their hearts and the love affair has lasted for the best part of 20 years.
'Ten' is still probably the best thing theyve ever done, perfectly combining both the harder rocking side of the band and the gently melodic too. The 1-2-3 punch of 'Once', 'Even Flow', and 'Alive' at the start of the album is still probably the best introduction to a record from anybody in the 90's. 'Black' still stands up as their greatest moment, a simple strummed guitar melody dominating by Eddie Vedder's distinctive, haunting voice with the final lines of 'I'll know someday you'll have a beautiful, i know you'll be the sun, in somebody else sky, but why?' - Its just a perfect, emotional song.
Everybody knows the singles (Alive, Even Flow, Jeremy) but the album tracks are equally as strong - This album would forge bonds with the fans that kept them coming back decades later.
Ten by Pearl Jam (1991)
In my other reviews I've kept mentioning that the guitars "sound like Pearl Jam" so it looks like I'm going to need some new similes.
Jeff Ament - bass
Stone Gossard - guitar
Mike McCready - guitar
Dave Krusen - drums
Eddie Vedder - vocals
The guitars sound like... well, they don't sound like Nirvana, so let's get that out of the way, because the whole "grunge" phenomenon is as unhelpful now as it was back then. I know guys with very lank hair who insist the only grunge albums were made by Mudhoney in the 1980s, and if you argue with them well then they'll make you listen to their CD collection, so just nod your head and smile politely, because trust me, that's easier. The guitars also don't sound like the Pixies, Sonic Youth, or Dinosaur Jr. Do you hear me? The guitars definitely don't speak with a Massachusetts accent. These guitars are from Seattle. Have you got that? They have never been to the east coast. Never. Not once. Not even on holiday when they were ten years old. And they don't sound like Pavement either, even though everybody sounds like Pavement these days, unless they sound like the Pixies. Or unless they sound like Pearl Jam.
In all seriousness, Pearl Jam were America's predominant traditional rock band in the 1990s and so their stature should properly be assessed by comparison to acts like Aerosmith, REM, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Guns N Roses, Metallica, The Grateful Dead, and yes, the Pixies, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, and Nirvana. Just don't use the word grunge, okay?
One - Once
The record starts with a short introductory passage that sounds like the type of transcendental meditation Jim Jones or David Koresh might get up to in a mausoleum. Then the song starts properly with a fierce burst of grungy guitar work that sounds a bit like pearl jam. "I've got a sixteen gauge buried under my nose / Once upon a time I could control myself." Eddie sounds very angry and confused, even a bit schizophrenic, and frankly, I'm not getting in his way. The solos have psychedelic tinges although the rhythm section has great intensity and the raw sound hurtles along through the claustrophobic shadows.
Two - Even Flow
In interviews, guitarist Mike McCready fessed up he was ripping off Stevie Ray Vaughn, who was a hero of his, but Even Flow made for a successful single. The lyrics are about homelessness. I think on tracks like this you can clearly see that Pearl Jam owe as much to 1970s stadium rock as they do to 1980s alternative rebellion and it's no fluke that they convincingly captured both audiences and pushed their record sales into the stratosphere even as they refused to court MTV and became embroiled in a bitter row with Ticketmaster. In most respects Pearl Jam have always been about deeds, not image, and Cobain was wrong to criticise their popular appeal and financial success. Even Flow has more riffs and hooks than it needs and a big chorus too. Underneath the fuzzy echoing production it's surprisingly rhythmically tight. Musically, Pearl Jam never wanted to compete with other Seattle bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, who weren't far off being metal bands. In terms of their overall sound they were too busy fusing U2 and Led Zeppelin and Hendrix. That's probably what Neil Young heard when he asked them to be his backing band for a hard rock album he was working on. Forget that godfather of grunge nonsense.
Three - Alive
It's easy to see why this was the lead single to the record. From the breezy opening hook it's a classic and Vedder's mystic, guttural cacophony is compelling. By the end the guitars spiral in anguished euphoria and the drums and cymbals crash in waves. Like Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam ought to be hauled in front of the International Court of Justice to face responsibility for the horde of talentless imitators they've spawned. This is the track what done it, m'lord. It's a truly fantastic exhibit, as it would have to be to win such a devoted legion of copycats. Can we let them off for good behaviour? No? What do you mean the lyrics are about incest? That's disgusting!
Four - Why Go Home
High-energy hard rock music with three minutes of swirling rhythms. Eddie gets a bit melodramatic on this one but not enough that it should put you off and the guitar solos are ridiculously over the top but it all sounds relentlessly credible.
Five - Black
If there's a big criticism to be made of the Pearl Jam sound it's probably that in their homage to their own heroes they've eliminated the blues and folk and jazz influences that informed their heroes' heroes. For all that raw verve and squawking complexity from the musicians and the impassioned vigour of a genuinely charismatic front man (at least in performance) you can't entirely deflect the accusation that there's something perplexingly sterile at the heart of things. Maybe this was what Cobain was really getting at with his misdirected insights: they want to stand so completely at the heart of the canon of rock music that they see as their rightful tradition that they've amputated something rather important that their music needs to breath. I don't really have any misgivings about this but can see why others might. A similar accusation has recently been levelled at Arcade Fire (in the pages of The New Yorker no less) that for all their faithfully attentive detail to pop heritage and older folk and spiritual traditions they effectively bypass mid-twentieth century African American music and this is to their detriment. I can see the argument even though I disagree with it. Black is a quieter ballad, and so these issues should be particularly thorny when considering whether this song needs a warmer suffusion of older musical grammars to convey emotional depth, particularly as it's one of the early songs that tends to gravitate towards traditional rock stations' play lists, and so is more likely to be heard in context with older American music than those songs packaged for the contemporary "alternative" landscapes which are perpetually ploughed and tilled by successive generations of cultural hipsters. The song is a popular if overly long and sombre meditation on lost love. Vedder sings it bitterly and does find emotional weight.
Six - Jeremy
Possibly the band's most well known song, Jeremy won the coveted MTV award for video of the year in 1993. The song is based on a newspaper article about a kid who shot himself in front of his classmates. It's an earnest song that opens with a juicy bass riff and percussion. The guitars have a lovely warm and grizzly timbre to them and there's a cello underneath the ending. The production feels brighter and cleaner than elsewhere and Vedder's voice is more expansive. This was the single that really put Pearl Jam on the map. Ten eventually peaked at number two in the US album charts but was kept off the top spot by Billy Ray Cyrus. The record did however make Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time a decade later, a feat the Achy Breaky Heart singer has been unable to match. So it's possible Pearl Jam are also to blame for Hannah Montana's plans for global domination, although I don't have a source for that, so don't quote me. The NME did once editorialise that Eddie Vedder was conspiring to take money out of the pockets of "alternative" kids, so it sounds plausible to me.
Seven - Oceans
Vedder shows he can also reach a softer, higher register on this one, howling alongside his usual throaty repertoire. The percussion drums taut textures and the guitars feel vaguely eastern. The words are inspired by surfing, and the music does capture a sense of the waves and the coast.
Eight - Porch
The vocal's unravelling cadence creates lots of energy as the band rock out, although the volume and density of the sound is kept under control. The slower guitar interlude in the middle is less persuasive than usual and the last minute never really gets back up to steam either, but at least it starts off really well. There's probably a better performance of this material to be found.
Nine - Garden
The melody of the chorus is pretty memorable but the song lulls in too pedestrian a fashion trying to figure out what to do the rest of the time and the guitar break is a total snooze. The band has no trouble filling out the last of the running time with plenty of noise but they need to take that vocal and do something more fun with it.
Ten - Deep
Eddie's growling has grown reassuring by now although perhaps we should have a whip around for some Strepsils or he'll feel rougher than ten grizzly bears in the morning. He's got a really strong voice, so whether he's coherent or not... let's not quibble. I think whereas the record benefited from the lengthy time the band took to rehearse and shape their material, it perhaps suffered from their relative lack of experience in the studio in 1991. The band themselves have said in interviews that given the choice they would remix the album to remove some of the reverb and discover a cleaner sound. This song isn't one of their strongest so serves as a good case in point. The guitars are too much of a splurge of noise and the melody hasn't got enough direction whilst rhythmically it leaves a lot to be desired too.
Eleven - Release
The last track sounds comparatively acoustic next to the rest of the tracks on the album but the instruments are plugged in and the band builds up the layers after a couple of softer verses. The tone is warm and melodic and foreshadows work on subsequent Pearl Jam albums that revealed another dimension to their trademark hard rock. Vedder delivers his searching vocal in long sustained notes. After the music fades out, the intro from the opening track returns and rumbles on again for three minutes, but this time the incendiary guitar riff that began Once doesn't interfere, and the record ends.
If one word were to define Eddie Vedder, lead vocals of Seattle rockers Pearl Jam, then for me itd be passionate. Having survived the grunge era of the early 90s, an era which saw the end of the likes of Nirvana and Alice In Chains, Vedder and his merry men have continued to blaze a trail through to the current day, releasing albums that, despite slowly diminishing in quality, have still showed fleeting glimpses of promise. Critics will state that the real Pearl Jam died after the release of their second full length Vs in 1993, but I beg to differ; simply because the bands music began to lack the raw aggression that fuelled their early releases, doesnt immediately mean the quality had therefore gone. Yield and Binaural in particular displayed a group of friends that still loved what they were doing, and granted, they werent technically as strong as whatd come beforehand, but equally, they werent bad either. Vs itself was one of the finest releases of the early 90s, enforcing PJs popularity upon the grunge scene, a scene which, despite nearing an end, had seen some fantastic singular releases; one of which happens to have the fine title of my favourite album of all time, and that my friends is the bands debut release; Ten.
Recorded on a relatively shoe-string budget throughout 1991 in Seattle, Ten was angry, hard, and most importantly, loud. From first to last (through Once to Releases) it spits, it snarls, but it rocks like no other. It was in fact the records best known track that got me into both the album, and the band in general; Jeremy, with its accompanying video giving a haunting pre-vision of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, was everything that Pearl Jams music stood for; loud and proud. The song itself depicts a boy, obviously known as Jeremy, a social outcast with a secret side which only the quiet ones tend to have; (Clearly I remember pickin' on the boy, seemed a harmless little fuck. Ooo, but we unleashed a lion). It is therefore that the Columbine comparisons come about, as Jeremy eventually lashes out against those whove previously done him wrong: (And he hit me with a surprise left. My jaw left hurtin', ooo, dropped wide open). Although Jeremy defined both Pearl Jam and Ten as a whole, it was far from the only memorable moment to be had over the course an hour or so.
Why Go tells the tale of a lost soul, a child placed in some non-descript mental institute, left to rot by her very own mother (She scratches a letter into a wall made of stone, Maybe someday another child won't feel as alone as she does); theres a running theme of emotions throughout the album, whether if be the aforementioned girl in Why Go, or even the isolation that Jeremy must previously have felt, its an album that deals with a great deal of feeling, hence my labelling of vocalist Vedder as passionate. Alive sees Veder himself come to terms with the past, being informed that his real father had previously died, and that hes been raised by a friend all along (While you were sittin' home alone at age thirteen, your real daddy was dyin'. Sorry you didn't see him, but I'm glad we talked...") it does little to break the cycle of emotion that fuels the album and its music, but also brings to light genuine issues that obviously trouble Veder as he felt the need to write such a personal song at such an early time in his bands beginnings.
Undoubtedly the finest song on the album, the perfect break-up song if you will, need only be depicted by the words I know someday you'll have a beautiful life, I know you'll be the star in somebody else's sky, but why, why, why can't it be, oh, can't it be mine?; words simply cannot do justice to one of the most heart-wrenching songs of all time, let along the early 90s; Black is a masterpiece within another. End of story. Despite Veder using his vocal chords at the other end of the scale for the most part, his ability to tone it down, to literally leave you speechless, is testament to his quality as a front man. Aside from the albums better known moments (Alive, Jeremy, Black etc), it must be stated that Ten is void of a duff track; the likes of Porch, Garden, and Deep, all add to the album in one way or another. Garden, a track more alike Black than any other, delivers a cracking chorus that again sees Eddie stretching his tone from something other than raucous; (I will walk...with my hands bound. I will walk...with my face blood. I will walk...with my shadow flag. Into your garden, garden of stone). Very good indeed.
Whilst Nirvana took the headlines, the glory, the recognition, it was in truth Pearl Jam who released the defining album of the grunge era. An album that screams passion, emotion, anger, hate, love, loss; Ten defines early 90s rock at its finest. The fact the band were the sole survivors of said era is once again testament to their eagerness to pursue their careers, as opposed to burning out ala Cobain. Theyve not made another Ten in the years since, and never will they again, but it shouldnt be replicated, as trying to better whats impossible to beat, is basically fighting a loosing battle - its a waste of time. History is littered with albums that defined a genre, an era, a particular band even, and Ten is very much one of the finest. From the raw aggression of opener Alive, to the heartache of Black, its a masterpiece. Period.
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Repeat - Once, Even Flow, Alive, Why Go, Black, Jeremy, Oceans, Porch, Garden, Deep, Release.
Skip - n/a
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PEARL JAM - TEN ---------------- Pearl Jam, are a slightly unknown band in this country, which is a big shame as we seem to miss out on so much great American rock music, and end up with the watered down pop, even when we do get a nice guitar in a song, its by a "band" such as Busted, now don't get me wrong, I can see why lots of young kids like their music but it doesn't rock! So this brings me to an album that does Rock, released way back in 1991, this was one of the first rock albums that I got into, I mean I was only 11 at the time!! know 12 years later this album is still as strong and fresh as it was then. THE BAND -------- Pearl Jam were originally known as Mother Love Bone, but with the tragic death of their lead singer Andrew Wood, there came this great band. Forming after the lead singer Eddie Vedder got a demo tape from the then Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer, Jack Irons, who later went on to be a Pearl Jam drummer. This was the first album of many, and the band is still recording and releasing things to this day. When this first came out Pearl Jam where known as a grunge band, and alongside Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and The Screaming Trees, they helped to create one of the most original and gripping rock genres to date. A lot of people classed these as a poor Nirvana, but in fact the two bands share very little resemblance to each other, where Nirvana where a punky rock band, these had a more stadium style quieter rock sound, which has had more people trying to imitate it than Nirvana. There have been a lot of more recent bands that have taken Pearl Jams sound, Nickleback and Staind to name but two, and yet I've still to hear a band that has as much skill and class as the originals! THE MEMBERS ----------- The band members on this recording were :- Eddie Vedder - Singer / Songwriter Stone Gossard - Guitars Mike McCready - Lead Guitar Jeff Ament - Bass Dave Krusen - Drums All members except the drummer are still in the band, there have been numerous drummers since but they never seem to stick for long! THE ALBUM --------- Well the cover is instant and clear, you have a picture of the five members all putting their hands together in a gesture of togetherness, against a red background with the name of the band and the title. This cover opens into a kind of poster, with the lyrics to the songs on the back. TRACK 1 - ONCE -------------- The first track opens with a little instrumental track, which is an exert of a track titled The Wash, which ends the album. It soon kicks into a nice groove with some fantastic guitars over a simple drum beat. Then you have Eddies vocals come in, this is where Pearl jam have an edge over many bands, Eddies vocals are like an extra instrument, they really fit the music. Shortly after we get to the chorus, which is a quite arms in the air shouty effort, which cant fail to get you singing along. This song is the first in a trilogy of songs in which Eddie writes about a man that kills someone, then ends up on death row, the other songs in the trilogy are alive and footsteps, only alive is available on any albums. "Backstreet lover on the side of the road, got a bomb in my temple that is gonna explode, got a .16 gauge buried under my clothes, I play." TRACK 2 - EVEN FLOW ------------------- Kicking into a nice little riff almost as soon as the previous song as finished, this song, although not one of my favourites, is a very tight rock tune, with a lot of little solo type guitar and some nice drum and bass playing underlaying the track. Vedders vocals keep this song together beautifully, if another singer tried to do this track then it wouldn't work, Vedder has a knack for making a song his own, and it shows on
this one. TRACK 3 - ALIVE --------------- The first single, and the first track in the trilogy of songs that I mentioned earlier. Opening with a nice little solo riff, then soon bringing the drums and bass into the mix, this song draws you right from the start. Being part of the trilogy I spoke about at first, this song uses a lot of artistic licence as its also about Eddie Vedders hate for his father in law, a man that features in a lot of Eddies songs. Halfway through the track slows down a bit, adding a lot of atmosphere, but it soon builds up into a crashing chorus. TRACK 4 - WHY GO ---------------- Kicking in with some great drumming and bass, this is a nice rocking little tune, whilst not a riff heavy monster, this has a slow burning little drum and bass sound that leads it, with mostly solo playing over the top. This song is more about Eddies inspirational vocals, they really bring that extra dimension to the song which would be lacking without him. "She seems to be stronger, but what they want her to be is weak, she could just pretend, she could join the game, she could be another clone." TRACK 5 - BLACK --------------- One of the best rock tracks ever, you cant ask for much more than this song. It has been covered by numerous bands, although most of these are little unknown bands, although the latest to try it was Staind. A slow lighters in the air type rock tune. The guitar, bass and drums all come together to bring a really strong backing sound for Eddies thoughtful vocals, here you hear the absolute best of Eddies vocals, very meaningful and from the heart. TRACK 6 - JEREMY ---------------- The most well known Pearl Jam song, opening with a single little guitar riff, this soon builds up into being a great little lively track. Again another song that is hard not to sing along to, even though the subject matter is that of a
school kid that goes into school and kills his classmates, it is based on a story that happened just down the road from where Eddie was staying at the time of writing. "Daddy didn't give affection, and the boy was something that mommy wouldn't wear, king Jeremy the wicked, ruled his world." TRACK 7 - OCEANS ---------------- This was another single, and the title was one of the most appropriate titles I've heard, this song reminds you of oceans and water, with its wishy washy sound, its very entrancing. The music seems to lift and drop kind of like waves, its a gorgeous sound, and to add to that you have Eddies vocals which are doing the same. It has an almost 60's psychedelic type feel to it, but pushed into a 90's band. TRACK 8 - PORCH --------------- After the slow track that preceded it, we get a loud rocking little number, this one is fast paced and very rocking. It also contains a very nice uplifting chorus. Halfway through the track there is a little solo by Mike, which doesn't distract from the song like a lot of solos do, in fact it draws you in to the cool finish. TRACK 9 - GARDEN ---------------- Another slow number, but this is where Pearl Jam are at their best. With very little musical accompaniment Eddie is left to fend for himself until the chorus, which brings the guitars and drums out to the fore. But as usual this song grows on you in very little time, and soon becomes one of the best on the album. "The direction of the eye, so misleading, the defection of the soul, nauseously quick. I dont question our existence, I just question, our modern needs." TRACK 10 - DEEP --------------- One of those album defining songs this, its a perfect track with some nice guitar parts and some truly rocking vocals by the mainman Vedder. If you were to buy this for one song alone then this s
hould be it, pure class. TRACK 11 - RELEASE ------------------ So we reach the end of a top class album, with these albums I normally want a fantastic track to end it all, and this album provides that, with this track Pearl Jam take all of the best bits from all of the previous songs and put them into one song. It is a slow ballad type song, there are also some sections with very little music in which Eddie uses his vocals to full potential. A great track to end a great album. OVERALL ------- This is a must buy for any true rock fan, whether your into Black Sabbath or Blink 182, no matter what type of music really, this is just a great rock album, which has so many good moments that it will be in your cd player for a long time. The bands later albums actually improve upon this album, which is quite difficult to do, but they do tend to take the music in a different direction from what is on offer here. Thanks for reading. Kyle
PEARL JAM - TEN Perhaps it's because their lead singer didn't die an untimely death. Perhaps it's because the band never burnt away but carried on going and stood the test of time. Perhaps it's because the band weren't thrown into the media spotlight in the same way Mr. Cobain and co. were. Whatever the reason is this album, which helped to define grunge in exactly equal measures to Nirvana's Nevermind album has been overshadowed by its fellow genre giant - and unfairly so. When the grunge scene exploded from Seattle in the early 90's bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and indeed Pearl Jam were those leading the way. Formed from the remains of Mother Love, a band split due to the death of their vocalist and Californian singer/songwriter Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam were responsible for one of the most grunge defining albums of the 90's, Ten. Hounded by the press for being 'Fake Grunge' at the time the band spent less time in the spotlight than Nirvana but this didn't affect the music at all. Ten is a grungy, riff-based, intelligent marvel of a record. And if you were expecting grunge then you wont be disappointed - opener 'Once' is built on a rough riff, heavy drum beat and Vedder's raw vocals. Oh and of course, solo's aplenty. This heavier element is witnessed at several key points throughout the album - second track 'Even Flow' continues what 'Once' started with again the heavy guitar sound, peaking chorus and emotion riddled raw vocals. Perhaps the best known track on the album 'Alive' is a grunge anthem and along with 'Teen Spirit', is one of the best grunge songs ever written and definitely a highlight as is the steady giant 'Jeremy' a song about a boy in Texas who killed himself in front of his school class. Other tracks demonstrating the original grunge sound which so many bands have tried - and failed to reproduce (yes N
ickleback we are talking about you...) include Porch, an album highlight as its hectic sound flattens out into a chorus sung by Vedder like a man desperately trying to get words out of his mouth on his final breath of air, Why Go and Deep which complete the grungey core of this album. But what's that? There's more to Pearl Jam than the grunge they created? That's right. The band has a more subtle, quieter side to them - much like their front man. Black, often hailed by today's elite brand of rock stars as one of the greatest songs if not just by Pearl Jam but of all time is a creative jem on the album. Sounding like a lost man Vedder sings with a regretful tone to a slow burning and powerful tracks tinted with emotion, especially on its final peak as Vedder cries 'I know someday you'll have a beautiful life...why can't it be with me?'. A highlight for any album. Though other mellower tracks on the album, such as the chilled out 'Oceans', the sleepy 'Garden' which builds into a powerful yet slow chorus, the anathematic ballad of 'Release' and the faint 'Wash', don't always grab you in the way Black does, and of course there are momentarily lapses in certain parts of the album, the tracks that are well put together really do create a balance between heavy and mellow that is created so well on the album. The album finishes on 'Dirty Frank' an upbeat comedy tracks bearing a striking resemblance to 'Give It Away' by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers with erratic lyrics - a somewhat funky closing to what is a very complete and a very 'grunge' album. As the pioneers of grunge it is often assumed by those who haven't given the band a proper chance that this is all they did. This isn't true and Ten shows this with its blend of mellow and hard, soft and strong, hard riffs and chill out slow burning tracks. With Nirvana often being named as the band who created grung
e, Pearl Jam do perhaps get over looked. But this is a band who have stood the test of time and are still releasing music over ten years after their explosive debut, 'Ten'. With the timely revival of grunge in the shape of Bush, InMe, Everclear and Nickleback and another growth in the popularity of Nirvana due to box-sets, journals and law suits etc... perhaps its time to take a look back to and remember where it all started with the original and perhaps the best ten years ago, 'Ten'.
Unlike the other reviewers in this section, I can't speak knowledgeably about the history of the band or their musical technicalities. I can however do my best to recommend this album. After their recent disappointingly average albums, people would be correct in thinking Pearl Jam were a band of the past. This is undoubtedly the best of all the albums, anyone who hasn't already purchased it shouldn't really be wasting time reading this review... A band more on the classic rock side of the Grunge genre (compared to the somewhat 'punky' Nirvana or metal orientated Soundgarden) Pearl Jam don't seem to be as popular in the UK as in the US. Nevertheless, this is an amazing album that is essential for any fans of the genre. It is the equal of Nevermind or In Utero, with popular songs such as 'Jeremy', 'Black' and the famous 'Alive', but also hidden gems such as 'Porch', 'Once' and 'Even Flow'. All the songs are amazing - no disappointments. This album really reaffirms to me why Pearl Jam are so popular and why they can be forgiven for recent attempts. Anyone doubting their talents need look no further than this album. Unlike others you can listen to it over and over - it gets better every time!
Ten was the most eagerly awaited album of my teens... As an avid fan of the Seattle Supergroup Mother Love Bone, I couldn't wait for the release of the UK version of Ten and ordered it from America. The Album can pick you up, put you down, make you scream until you bleed and then soothe you into tranquility. This is MY album of all time, nothing comes close... The timeless classic stylings of Vedders vocals coupled with some nail biting riffs cranked out by Stone, Jeff and Mike make that grunge era seem now all so more important to me than it seemed at the time. PJ did it with style...no pretence or BS. I remember Eddie screaming live 'Why are the lights so damn bright in here?, turn them down, turn them off, THIS IS a rock concert not a video!' after that they screamed into Even Flow... If I could turn back the clock and do that whole era again, I would be dragging you all with me... Buy Ten, feel it's power, it can change your life forever....
Although I probably feel more of an affinity towards their other four releases, "Ten" is an excellent classic grunge rock album. It has the same feel as Stone Temple Pilots' first two releases (perhaps because they were blatantly imitating Pearl Jam?), with a series of songs that maintain a hard-rock aesthetic and don't give the listener a moments breathing space. All of the songs have an anthemic twist accompanied by deep growling guitar solos and crunching drumming. 'Once' is pure grunge bliss, and we encounter the double edged nature of Pearl Jam's guitar work, one guitar laying the rhythm and growling deeply, and another more flashy and slightly higher pitched guitar that takes most of the limelight. Vedder's vocals are at their most raw and powerful on this album, as this is their most unconditionally hard cd. He isn't afraid to growl, grunt, howl in addition to singing with a soaring power that very few singers can match. 'Even flow' and 'Alive' follow up, grunge rockers with addictive anthemic hooks. 'Why go' is a bit of a let down after the first few tracks, but is followed by the grunge ballad, in purest Neil Young style, 'Black'. The lyrics are beautifully moving, and rock and piano music is combined to create the pathos that the song builds. 'Jeremy' is another anthemic hard rocker, followed by the hushed and mesmerising 'Oceans', the perfect release of tension between two hard rockers. Vedder's vocals soar impressively, and the music maintains the majesty of the anthemic quality of the album. 'Garden' slows down again, folky, hushed and with some beautifully layered guitar work. 'Deep' is the last all out rocker of the cd, followed by the power and beauty of 'Release'. Again Vedder takes us on a roller-coaster tour of his vocal range, and the majesty of this ballad is amazing. To me this is the genuine highlight of the cd,
slow paced, gradually building and stunningly powerful by the end. "Ten" is one of the defining moments of grunge and 90's music. Raw, majestic and emotionally genuine, it breaks with the plotting careerism of 80's music and sets music on the sentiments that it is intended to embody. 11 tracks of magnificence, and you can't say that about many cds.
Musically, the distinctions between punk and metal, classic and contemporary rock were never as sharp as media pundits and marketing executives would have had us believe, but it took a gaggle of grungy bands from the Pacific Northwest to hammer the point home as they moshed their way to the top of the charts. Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam each offered its own potent blend of old and new, but what distinguished Pearl Jam was the unabashedly optimistic vibe that resonated through its songs, a combination of unabashed '60s-style idealism and post-punk grit. The quintet's music is as beefy as it is lyrical, a seamless blend of raw energy with impeccable musicianship and songwriting that draws as much on blues rock behemoths like Bad Company as the poetic punk of X. Pearl Jam's debut effortlessly encompasses a small universe of moods, from the poignant bite of "Black" to the surging anomie of "Jeremy" and the soaring affirmation of "Alive." The seeds of everything Pearl Jam would become were set down on Ten, but in retrospect what distinguishes this album is the unassuming manner in which the band goes about its business. Like U2 before it, Pearl Jam's ideals put it behind the pop culture pulpit, which led to an inevitable sense of self-consciousness. Yet in the end it's the conviction of the music, not its stance on Ticketmaster or any other issues that makes Pearl Jam a great band, and though it would go on to make higher profile albums and collaborate with such elder statesmen of rock as Neil Young, Pearl Jam would never sound as flat-out fresh as it does on Ten.
The first album from the longest surviving of all the Seattle groups of the early nineties. What makes this truly remarkable is that half the group rose from the ashes of Mother Love Bone after the death of singer Andy Wood, and the other half hadn’t ever met. Guitarist Stone Gossard had recorded a tape of demos with bass player Jeff Ament and passed them around initially looking for a drummer. The tape made its way into the hands of Jack Irons formerly of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, he declined the stool but recommended a friend of his who was a singer. Enter Eddie Vedder, within weeks he’d moved up to Seattle and they had recorded this amazing debut album. All of happened around the time Seattle was starting to get noticed for other bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, and the “Grunge” movement was born. The album itself starts off at a thundering pace with “Once” part of a trilogy of songs telling a story. This song is burning with a barely contained anger that manifests itself in the intensity of the song. With hardly any time to recover you are catapulted into the sonic guitar-fest that is “Even flow”. This song defines the Seattle sound, and is the most “Grunge” Pearl Jam would ever be. It is a great tune about homelessness, which again is delivered with such passion that you wonder if he’s singing from experience. “Alive” is the centrepiece of the whole album, a twin air guitar song that got them noticed as a major force in modern music. The guitar hook at the beginning really grabs you and does what it says, gets you hooked. It is also another of the songs in a story trilogy, the third being a b-side called “Footsteps”. “Alive” is the first song telling of feelings off guilt and resentment, followed by “Once” telling of the effects and how the guilt caused the subject to become a killer, and “Footsteps” says of how t
he man feels when in prison. “Black” is a beautiful song as anyone will ever write, and shows that a band with so much intensity and passion can manage to slow things down to create something delicate like “Black”. “Jeremy” along with “Alive” is the most famous song here, owing a lot to its catchy intro and bass line, an effect created by using a six string bass guitar showing the band as great innovators as well. Also it won an award for the video at the MTV awards, something which the band did their best to distance themselves from, as it was the last promotional video they ever made. Overall here is an album that can hold its own with any classic rock album, up there along with the Neverminds and Ok Computers of this world.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Even Flow
4 Why Go