PEARL JAM - TEN
Format: Compact Disc
TEN, Pearl Jam's debut album, was released less than a month before Nirvana's NEVERMIND, and although it took longer to climb the pop charts it also hung around longer, eventually outselling its Seattle rival. Together, the two albums reinvigorated rock and roll, whose share of the pop marketplace had been slipping through the late 1980s. But while Nirvana's bruising punk rock was an all-out assault on the classic-rock dinosaur, Pearl Jam's accomplished hard rock was an attack from within the system.
The drawn-out, bluesy guitar riffing and anthemic choruses that dominated TEN instantly gave away roots in the same popular hard rock and heavy metal that Nirvana was intent on crushing. Indeed, before forming Pearl Jam, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament (who between them wrote most of the music on TEN) were the core of two '70s-influenced metal bands, Green River and Mother Love Bone. But in place of the self-aggrandising, larger-than-life singers that led most such bands, Gossard and Ament found Eddie Vedder, a ravage-voiced vocalist more apt to identify with the abused and misunderstood children he was singing about than with any other rock stars. When he exploded into one of TEN's many memorable choruses, Vedder offered transcendence for the people who needed it most.
The storyline of the album's breakthrough single, "Jeremy", was typically vague and elusive (despite a highly suggestive video), but the message was not. The meek and the misunderstood, Pearl Jam seemed to be saying, would rise and inherit the world, even if it was only a world of their own invention.
|12)||Master/Slave (hidden track)