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Classic Albums: Pearl Jam - Ten

While Nevermind is the "golden child" of grunge, Pearl Jam's Ten (released a month before Nirvana's breakthrough) is every bit its equal. Less brash and metallic and more melodic and soulful than many of its grunge contemporaries, Ten is undoubtedly a record that has endured better than most other rock LPs released in the early 90s. It may not have had the bile and fury that seemed to fuel grunge, but it was every bit as powerful.

Ten clearly draws its musical influences from the world of classic rock, rather than the declining post-punk scene which seemed to permeate grunge in its infancy. You will hear much more Hendrix in there than, say, Black Flag, with Pearl Jam much more reluctant to detach themselves from a wider musical heritage than the other grunge acts who specifically, and very vocally, criticised so called heritage acts.

A lot could be said about the socially aware band's need to cover weighty topics on Ten - abortion, homelessness, childhood traumas, gun violence, to name but a few - but that would almost paint them as grunge's "U2", which would be unfair. Even at the time the band's detachment from the mainstream was at odds with their growing success. Ten is, at its heart, a very pure and honest record which was clearly recorded with no ulterior motive to "change the world".

But when you strip away all of the analysis, all of the hype and discussion Ten is very simply a GREAT rock record. It's above and beyond any era or genre, and the fact that it was released as grunge broke into the mainstream is pure coincidence. This would have been a classic at any point in the past 40 years, and it's a record that every collection must contain.

1) Once Gossard 
2) Even Flow Gossard
3) Alive Gossard
4) Why Go Ament
5) Black Gossard 
6) Jeremy Ament 
7) Oceans Gossard / Ament / Vedder 
8) Porch Vedder
9) Garden Gossard / Ament 4:59
10) Deep Gossard / Ament 4:18
11) Release Gossard / Ament / Krusen / McCready / Vedder 9:05


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