Pearl Jam’s “Ten” Turns 20

by Ryan on August 27, 2011

in Anything Else,Media,Nostalgia,Pop Culture

Pearl Jam‘s first album, Ten, was released twenty years ago today.  Though it took a while for Ten to gain commercial success, it is widely considered one of the American alternative rock’s most influential albums.

Songs like Alive, Even Flow, Jeremy, and Black are forever tied to that era in my mind and still hold up pretty well.  Now and then I like to throw Ten in.  It’s one of those “just push play” albums for me, nostalgic.

I wasn’t into Pearl Jam or the Seattle scene early on.  I still loved metal bands and wore black t-shirts, not trading them in for plaid and corduroys until well into 1993.  An important music moment for me was slow dancing at a high school mixer, noticing everyone around (including the girl) was singing along with the tune, but I’d never even heard it before — that was my introduction to Black.

I knew I had to give Pearl Jam more of a shot.  Plus, they had complex solos somewhat like the hair bands, which separated them from Nirvana, whose stripped-down sound was purposefully antithetical to that.  In the classic pre-Cobain-suicide battle between Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I was PJ all the way.  Soon, I began to embrace the Seattle scene and enthusiastically enjoyed PJ’s second album Vs. in 1993.  I’ve been a fan ever since.

Twenty years ago today, Pearl Jam helped to propel the last great American rock movement toward its zenith.

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