Pearl Jam’s Ten caused a seismic shift in modern rock music – Music Reads

The group gave a voice to the excluded and always did things their own way

The universe works in mysterious ways. But sometimes it works in a more obvious way.

stone gossard and Jeff Ament may have felt their chance for success in music with their band Mother Love Bone had been taken from below them with the tragic passing of frontman Andy Wood just months after the release of their debut effort.

Still, a demo tape of new song ideas they were working on found its way to a San Diego gas station by the name of Eddie Vedder, through their mutual connection, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons.

What Vedder heard on this tape would spark a set of songs that inspired the creation of arguably the greatest rock debut of all time, pearl jamit is Ten.

What we heard on that debut album was a singer with compelling storytelling instincts, a powerful, emotive voice magnified by stadium-sized, era-defining rock anthems.

Listen to Ten on the classic albums above:

‘Alive’ tells a story based in part on Vedder’s personal experience of learning that the man who raised him was not his biological father.

You feel the despair, the shock and the betrayal, then the punch in the dismissive breath in the line’sorry you didn’t see it, but i’m glad we talked.

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Originally written from a place of torment and confusion, “Alive” blossomed into a life-affirming anthem for a generation of disaffected young people.

Beyond the influence and legacy of Ten, the album endures as a set of stories that give a provocative voice to the voiceless and lend agency to the helpless.

“Why Go” challenges the notion of the family home as a safe space, telling the story of a child, sentenced to hospitalization by parents who disregard the rights or more sensitive needs of their children .

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While ‘Even Flow’, led by David Krusenpound the drums and burn Mike McCready guitarwork, shows empathy for those struggling with homelessness and expresses hope that ‘one day again, he will start his life again‘.

Perhaps the most amplified voice on Ten is that of ‘Jeremy’.

His neglect, bullying, anger and pain were such that when he finally ‘spoken in class‘, it was with horrible and tragic results.

After telling Jeremy’s story in such chilling detail for the song’s video, Pearl Jam declined to make a video for the album’s next hit track.

Instead, they offered a blank screen on which to project our own experiences while TenThe emotional centerpiece of ‘Black’ played in the background.

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It was a brave move by a then-new band on their first release, with pressure from record labels insisting they needed to consolidate their success.

But by meeting their label and industry expectations, Pearl Jam showed where their priorities lay. Respect the pure emotion of a song, rather than reducing it to a commodity beholden to a position or number on a sales chart.

Three decades is a long time for a band to prevail, especially one that emerged from the pressure cooker of the ’90s music industry.

But stay Ten today and you still hear and feel the wind of force behind this group of individuals, driven by the thrill of the collision of their interests and creative instincts, and why it caused such a seismic shift in the music mainstream and in our lives.