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Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time - Rated 160/500!
Ten is the debut studio album by alternative rock band Pearl Jam, released on August 27, 1991 through Epic Records. Following the disbanding of bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard's previous group Mother Love Bone, the two recruited vocalist Eddie Vedder, guitarist Mike McCready, and drummer Dave Krusen to form Pearl Jam in 1990. Most of the songs began as instrumental jams, to which Vedder added lyrics about topics such as depression, homelessness, and abuse.
Ten was not an immediate success, but by late 1992 it had reached number two on the Billboard 200 chart. The album produced three hit singles: "Alive", "Even Flow", and "Jeremy". While Pearl Jam was accused of jumping on the grunge bandwagon at the timedespite the fact that Ten had been both recorded and released before Nirvana's NevermindTen was instrumental in popularizing alternative rock in the mainstream. In February 2013, the album crossed the 10 million mark in sales, becoming the 22nd one to do so in the Nielsen SoundScan era and has been certified 13× platinum by the RIAA. It remains Pearl Jam's most commercially successful album.
"Nirvana's Nevermind may have been the album that broke grunge and alternative rock into the mainstream, but there's no underestimating the role that Pearl Jam's Ten played in keeping them there. Nirvana's appeal may have been huge, but it wasn't universal; rock radio still viewed them as too raw and punky, and some hard rock fans dismissed them as weird misfits. In retrospect, it's easy to see why Pearl Jam clicked with a mass audience -- they weren't as metallic as Alice in Chains or Soundgarden, and of Seattle's Big Four, their sound owed the greatest debt to classic rock. With its intricately arranged guitar textures and expansive harmonic vocabulary, Ten especially recalled Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. But those touchstones might not have been immediately apparent, since -- aside from Mike McCready's Clapton/Hendrix-style leads -- every trace of blues influence has been completely stripped from the band's sound. Though they rock hard, Pearl Jam is too anti-star to swagger, too self-aware to puncture the album's air of gravity. Pearl Jam tackles weighty topics -- abortion, homelessness, childhood traumas, gun violence, rigorous introspection -- with an earnest zeal unmatched since mid-'80s U2, whose anthemic sound they frequently strive for. Similarly, Eddie Vedder's impressionistic lyrics often make their greatest impact through the passionate commitment of his delivery rather than concrete meaning. His voice had a highly distinctive timbre that perfectly fit the album's warm, rich sound, and that's part of the key -- no matter how cathartic Ten's tersely titled songs got, they were never abrasive enough to affect the album's accessibility. Ten also benefited from a long gestation period, during which the band honed the material into this tightly focused form; the result is a flawlessly crafted hard rock masterpiece." - Steve Huey, allmusic.com
• Vinyl LP
2. Even Flow
4. Why Go