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"I Know Someday You'll Have A Beautiful Life"
Ten - Pearl Jam
Member Name: ManUtdBoi
Ten - Pearl Jam
Advantages: Vedder, his band, lyrics, vocals....
Disadvantages: slight production muffles
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 it’s accompanying video giving a haunting pre-vision of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, was everything that Pearl Jam’s 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 who’ve 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”); there’s 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, it’s 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 he’s 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 it’s 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 90’s; ’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 90’s rock at it‘s 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. They’ve not made another ‘Ten’ in the years since, and never will they again, but it shouldn’t be replicated, as trying to better what’s impossible to beat, is basically fighting a loosing battle - it’s 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’, it’s 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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Summary: The finest single work of the last 15 years....