Ten Label: Sony
Along with Nirvana's Nevermind, Pearl Jam's first CD, Ten, ushered in a new era of rock music by bullying its way through fluff groups like Boyz II Men and Color Me Badd with powerful guitar solos, gritty vocals and candid lyrics. At a time when Whitney Houston and Paula Abdul dominated the radio waves, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam finally offered rock-starved fans a cure for their boredom.
From track one, a vicious look at a man slowly losing his self-control entitled "Once," through the final melodic song, "Release," the members of Pearl Jam gallop from one end of the musical spectrum to the other. Vedder (vocals), Mike McCready (lead guitar), Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar), Jeff Ament (bass) and Dave Krusen (drums) created an album that at one instant blows your mind with riveting guitar chords, and then suddenly arouses sympathetic feelings as Vedder's compelling lyrics tell you stories of a suicidal teenager ("Jeremy"), love gone wrong ("Black") and a lifetime of phony memories ("Alive"). In fact, while the music itself is brilliant thanks to the undeniable chemistry between McCready, Gossard and Ament, it's Vedder's blistering voice that'll leave you speechless when rock anthems like "Even Flow" and "Porch" take flight.
If you're searching for some of the most influential music of the 1990s, pick this disc up; if you're simply looking for one of the best rock albums in decades, Ten won't disappoint. Although Pearl Jam has released six more impressive CDs (and counting) since Ten debuted, nothing these guys ever produce will live up to the historical significance of this magnificent collection of songs which, in this reviewer's mind, is one of the best albums of all time.