Monday, March 30, 2009

Ten Redux: An Album for the People

Reviews of the Ten Reissue have been pouring in.  Even from people who haven't always characterized themselves as "grunge fans."  I'll start with my find first.  Aren't you glad that I flew to Dallas this week, so I could catch this piece in the March 15th issue of American Way Magazine?

The First Cut Is the Deepest

As the rerelease of Pearl Jam’s seminal album, Ten, is this month, we asked one die-hard follower to recall what the original album meant to him and so many other rock fans.
By Zac Crain

Up until about 1992, I listed exclusively to hip-hop.  It was a hard trick to pull off, since I grew up in a small town and didn’t have access to MTV or an urban radio station, much less a good record store.  And the Internet?  That was only a rumor.  So I read The Source obsessively and dropped every paycheck on mail-ordered CDs – that is, until the day my mom happened to hear one of my Ice Cube discs and, Footloose-style, demanded I get rid of my entire collection.  I took everything to a used-CD store a few towns away and told the clerk to put all the money toward rock records.  I asked him to choose them for me, since I had no real clue where to begin.

Most of his selections were played once and the quickly forgotten.  (Collective Soul’s Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, I’m looking in your direction.)  But there was one keeper: Pearl Jam’s debut, Ten.  There was an almost subliminal hip-hop undercurrent to the riffs on songs like “Even Flow,” which made for an easy transition to this new genre of music.  More than that, Eddie Vedder’s often-inscrutable lyrics spoke to the confusing years of my late teens.

Looking back, I realize it’s not my favorite Pearl Jam album (that would be 1993’s Vs.), nore does it contain my favorite of their songs (“Corduroy,” from 1994’s Vitalogy).  Ten is, however, the disc I have the fondest memories of, partly due to the fact that it was pretty much the only album I listed to for months.  Sure, there wasn’t much else for me to listen to, but there wasn’t much else I wanted to listen to either.

And now, a find from twofeetthick, who found a review on the Onion's AV Club by David Wolinsky, who never even heard Tenuntil the reissue.