2. Even Flow
4. Why Go
Borne from the ashes of tragedy, Pearl Jam became one of the most celebrated acts of the 90s, perhaps the biggest band of the decade. Despite their status, Pearl Jam has been noted for attempting to stay loyal to their fans by trying to always place them before all else. In the process, the band has taken on Ticketmaster, dealt with concert death tragedies, and even released a series of live bootlegs from every show of their 2000 tour to circumvent bootleggers. But in the beginning, there was Ten.
As everyone knows, Pearl Jam was formed after the heroin overdose of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood. Critics at the time had the outfit poised for a reasonable amount of success until that tragic event. After getting a lineup together, the band recruited Eddie Vedder, a man one person described as being born to be a rockstar, and the rest is history. The band released Ten during the late summer of 1991 and watched Nirvana proceed to kick down the door for heavy rock music to be placed at the forefront. Unlike some of their Seattle counterparts, Pearl Jam was the most classic rock friendly and thus, rocketed to the stratosphere in short time. During the spring of 1992, every dorm room in America seemed to be blasting something from Ten out the doors and windows while MTV and rock radio played "Jeremy" so often that everyone wanted to strangle that kid out of the need to escape the song. And as with any band that is played so often that oversaturation ruins any interest, I stopped listening to Ten for many, many years.
Now the good news. Ten is indeed a good debut for any band. Eddie Vedder is the type of passionate singer that could read the contents of a sugar packet as if the delivery was a life or death issue. Moreover, the songs are well written, arranged smartly, and provide good mood within. It's still a bit tiresome to listen to the main singles from the album ("Even Flow", "Jeremy" and "Alive"), but the remaining tracks are still worth an ear. Ten obviously was no fluke success considering the band still remains fairly vital over a decade later. For those who also felt the need to escape the band's oversaturation, I would suggest that the album will sound fairly refreshing today, particularly if you find a copy for three bucks or less at a cheapo bin.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 03/2002