Ten (Legacy Edition)
I am a child of the ’90s and spent my formative teenage years listening to the alternative-grunge of Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and my personal favorite, Pearl Jam. So when I heard PJ was re-releasing their seminal debut album Ten, I was ecstatic. The long hair, the flannel, the angst, it was all starting to come back to me. And the crazy thing: I never owned a single Pearl Jam album. I borrowed them from friends all the time, but I never actually owned one. I’ve heard every studio album they’ve released and I really like each one, but none of them compared to the feeling I got when I heard Ten.
The pent-up anger released in the opening chorus of “Once,” when Eddie Vedder says “Once upon a time, I could control myself,” perfectly encapsulates what I thought I felt as a teenager. Oh, to be so young and naïve again.
This album scored hit after hit. Five of the eleven songs were not just smashes on rock radio, but mainstream radio as well. “Once,” “Even Flow,” “Alive,” “Black,” and “Jeremy” are all instantly recognizable and mostly because of Eddie Vedder’s unmistakably mumbling/grinding voice.
These five boys have grown up and released some stellar albums since Ten and Vedder has mellowed out a little bit, but there is nothing like going back to where it first began. And they do just that on the two-disc Legacy Edition. The first disc is the album as it was released back in 1991. The second disc is a remastered and remixed version of the album with six bonus tracks including a stellar outtake of “State of Love and Trust.” The outtakes are rough, but that’s why they are outtakes, and as bonus tracks they make the Legacy Edition well worth it.
The re-released album is available in four different packages. For the casual fan, there is the Legacy Edition that has the two discs and bonus tracks. The Deluxe Edition has all of that plus a DVD of their 1992 Unplugged performance, which is fantastic. They have a Vinyl Collection with the original version and remastered versions of the album on two LPs. The Super Deluxe Edition has the two CDs, DVD, and two LPs, plus two LPs of a concert in Seattle from 1992, a replica cassette of their original demo featuring “Alive,” “Once,” and “Footsteps,” and a composition notebook filled with replica notes from Vedder and Jeff Ament. There are collections for every type of Pearl Jam fan from the casual to the obsessed. There is no excuse not to own this album.
I have no excuse, which is why I now own the album. And now that I do, I can safely say that Ten is the best alternative rock album ever. Yes, that includes Nirvana’s Nevermind. I think that most music critics and experts would agree with that, had Kurt Corbain not immortalized himself as a “Rock God.” He may have ushered in the alternative rock era, but Pearl Jam perfected it.
Pearl Jam: www.pearljam.com