::Pearl Jam :: Ten::
Back in the days of Seattle’s “Grunge” scene, a band came through known as Pearl Jam. But please, do not call these guys grunge. They may have looked the part, but unlike bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, their music was immense, heartfelt, and epic. “Ten” was the band’s first released album and rarely does a band release a first album with as much top-quality music such as this. The album ranked number 2 on the Billboard Top 200 in 1991and is Rolling Stone’s #207 greatest albums of all time. With such singles as “Alive”, “Even Flow”, and the unforgettable “Jeremy”, ‘Ten’ would be more than just a good album for many, many people. It would become a chapter in the bible of legendary music.
: The album begins with one of the greatest openers I’ve ever heard. It opens with a hard rocking riff. The story behind the song is that this is the second episode in Eddie Veddar’s “Mamason Trilogy”. The first part is the song “Alive” and the third is “Footsteps” which can be found on the “Lost Dogs” album. In this episode of Mamason, the narrator goes crazy and begins to kill everybody around him. Without the story behind the song, it is just another incredibly fantastic song, but with the story, it is a fantastic song that haunts you. Eddie’s vocals are so fantastic in this song, that if it were anybody else, it would not have the same emotion, which is one reason the song is so incredible. Pearl Jam could not have picked a better song to open.
Even Flow (4:53)
: This song was one of their singles off the album. It is a song about the life of a homeless man that is rejected by society. The vocals are superb, as you can expect from Veddar. One of the best aspects of the song is the melody. it’s a pretty catchy song. Especially when entering the chorus with “Even flow, thoughts arrive like butterflies…”. Although there is not a whole lot to this song, it is still a fantastic song with a pretty good meaning behind it.
: This is probably the epitome of meaningful songs. The story behind the song, which is the first installation of the “Mamason Trilogy” is that the narrator, as a boy finds out that who he thought was his father is really his step-father. This makes him lose trust in his mother. When the narrator grows up, he ends up looking very much like his real father and his mother takes him to bed with her and they commit acts of incest. This ruins the little boy, and leads into the song “Once” where he goes out on a killing spree. Like “Once”, the song is incredible without the story. It has fantastic lyrics, incredible vocals, unforgettable riffs, and unforgiving emotion. But the story adds so much more to the song, that you cannot listen to it without feeling your heart jumping in sorrow for the boy. This is probably Pearl Jam’s best song in many people’s eyes, mine included. A flawless song all the way through.
Why Go (3:20)
: A really cool drum intro starts the song off, then in come the guitars with some really cool riff action. Veddar gets right into singing. It is about a girl who becomes institutionalized after her mother found her doing something bad. “Why go home"” is the lyric that they got their title from. The whole situation is pretty much a metaphor for a girl who made a mistake and her parents don’t want to take care of it. So pretty much the metaphor is that her parents don’t want to take care of the problems that their daughter made, even though they’re her parents, so they let other people take care of it. Another really great song with some great meaning.
: Although the meaning behind the song isn’t concrete, there are many ideas. It is rumored to be about a girl who has an abortion without telling her boyfriend, but the lyrics suggest a possible girlfriend or really close friend who died or broke up with him. An interesting story behind the song is that after the success of Jeremy, the record company wanted Pearl Jam to follow the success up by using this as a single, but Veddar refused because he felt the song was too personal and heartfelt to have it ruined by turning it into a music video. So officially, the song was never a single, but it still managed to get to number 3 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
: Another fan favorite. This song is such an amazing song. Especially when you know the story. It is about a student who shoots himself in school to get revenge on the students and even teachers who tormented him. The story is based around the story of Jeremy Dalle who shot himself in front of his English class. Which explains the line “Jeremy spoke in class today.” which pretty much means that Jeremy shooting himself was pretty much a big FU. This song’s emotional feel due to Veddar’s vocals are incredibly rich and heartfelt. The video for the song won four MTV awards including “Video of the Year.”
Originally Posted by Eddie Veddar
“You kill yourself and you make a big old sacrifice and try to get your revenge. That all you're gonna end up with is a paragraph in a newspaper. [...] it does nothing … nothing changes. The world goes on and you're gone. The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself. Be stronger than those people. And then you can come back.”
: The fourth single from the album. This took the place of “Black” and did not get a whole lot of radio play. It is about losing something very important. Very possibly a loved one. And how painful it is to see them go away, as if they’re going with the waves of an ocean. It hurts to see them go and hurts even more when they get out of your sight and reality sets in and you realize they’re never coming back. A deep song, but it doesn’t quite reach the same emotional level as some of their other songs, mainly Jeremy and Alive, but it still hits home with many people. Great song.
: This song is PROBABLY about a separation of two people. It might be about the death of a person meaningful and the guy sits on his porch and reflects, but maybe not. Many people thing the song is about abortion because in the MTV Unplugged version, he wrote Pro-Choice on his arm during the instrumental part of the song, but it is doubtful because the lyrics don’t match up and after this song, they played “Jeremy” which would make much more sense for that. Overall, the lyrics are fairly decent and the vocals are great. Another great emotional song.
: Again, the meaning of this song is not entirely apparent, but it is believed that it is about the effect of modern-day religion on people. The lyric “Into your garden, garden of stone.” has a possible meaning of a graveyard. The chorus, “I will walk…” explains several situations: a bloody face, bounded hands…and the graveyard reference begins to make sense. I really like the emotion that Veddar puts into this song as well. Although not on the same level as songs such as Alive, it still gets the job done. The guitar is haunting when put with Veddars voice. An underdog highlight on the album.
: This song has three parts to it. The first part is about a heroin addict who seriously thinks about his life when he injects the needle (sinks the needle deep). Part two is about a man who feels superior to everybody so he puts everyone down and makes then feel like nothing (and he sinks a burning knife deep). The third is rather grotesque as he describes an angel coming down from heaven because she feels that she is nothing to god and on earth she gets raped (as he sinks himself deep). So I guess the whole part of the story is that there is more to a situation than you probably assume there might be. A great song with more heartfelt, emotional, and even deep
: In the same light as the Mamason Trilogy, this is Eddie speaking to his father. Because the Mamason Trilogy has a lot to do in relation to Eddie’s past, with the whole stepfather situation and the mother to son incest, he asks for forgiveness. Not from god, or any other savior, but he asks for forgiveness from his father. He asks for some kind of release, or freedom from his past. This song was based entirely off of an impromptu jam session that Pearl Jam had. The band did the music and Eddie followed with what he considered to be some of the post personal lyrics a human being could handle. This is definitely one of the greatest songs on the album, and its almost disappointing that it didn’t become a single. An incredible ending. Nothing could come close to being better.
I would normally give a big ending to finish the review off, but this album doesn’t need one. I told you all I know about the album and based off of that, you should understand the point I was trying to get across. This album is nothing you have ever heard and nothing you might ever hear again. Possibly one of the greatest albums of all time, let alone our time.
Pearl Jam is:
Jeff Ament - bass
Stone Gossard - guitar
Dave Krusen - drums
Mike McCready - lead guitar
Rick Parashar - producer, piano, organ, percussion
Eddie Vedder - vocals
Walter Gray - cello