Another monument of both grunge and my long, lost youth was Pearl Jam’s 1991 debut with Ten. Like Nirvana, Pearl Jam is angry and loud but is more on themes of abuse and overcoming abuse than the self-loathing of Kurt. The album fits together like a glove running from the energetic Once and Even Flow through the pleading Alive and after the despondent Why Go On gives us the classics Black (a personal favorite) and their massive hit Jeremy. The moody Oceans leads to Vedder’s composition Porch which jams. The next two tracks are a bit slower: Garden and Deep. As Vedder is credited with the lyrics for all the songs, I can only guess at the trials he had when he was growing up. However, one would have to say that Vedder makes his peace here (perhaps expressed by the penultimate track Release) because he became progressively more positive (especially compared to the tragic end of Nirvana). In any case, although the albums after this (Animal, Vs, …) have some great tracks (Elderly Woman and Rearviewmirror being probably being my favorites well with Dissident and Neverman as well), none of them have the completeness or raw energy of Ten. My regret: never having caught them live.
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