Pearl Jam

Epic Associated Records, 1991


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Despite the fact that Nirvana is considered the forerunner of grunge music, it is indisputable that Pearl Jam has shaped modern rock music more than any other band.

Right from grunge music's commercial birth in the early '90s to its present day emo incarnation, every trick that modern rock records have pulled off seems to have been borrowed -- in some shape or form -- from what singer Eddie Vedder and the gang put out in their heyday; that is, during the time when they still cared to do videos.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The world is very lucky that Pearl Jam didn't include singles from Ten when they decided to quit making videos. There is no doubt that Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Come As You Are" changed the way rock videos were looked at. But, it was "Alive," "Evenflow," and "Jeremy" that gave identities to grunge videos as we see them today; these singles made rock videos hip and sexy, not to mention the fact that they showed for the first time that it is possible for a rock singer to be distraught, deep, intelligent, and irresistibly attractive at the same time.

And, there is the album too. Though the singles from Ten had a greater impact on modern rock music than the album itself, Pearl Jam is one of today's most influential rock bands, and Ten is one of the main reasons for Pearl Jam's cult status. The album as a whole is as powerful as its singles, taking the wild aggression of Nirvana and turning it into refined anger. Irrespective of what mood the album finds itself in -- aggravated or pensive -- the emotion is genuine, and something that is lacking in today's rock music, even in Pearl Jam's own modern music.

Rock hit a balance between passion and sophistication with grunge music, and no other era represents grunge better than the Seattle era of the early/mid 90's. This golden period for rock, which has inspired and revolutionized underground music, wouldn't have been possible had it not been for the immensely talented bands of the early/mid nineties Seattle music scene that produced groundbreaking rock albums, and Ten, being one of the forerunners of this lot, is the most essential grunge record ever.

Ten is more than just a remarkable debut; it is an album for posterity.

Rating: A

User Rating: B



© 2005 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Associated Records, and is used for informational purposes only.