Ten [Deluxe Edition]
Over 18 years and eight studio albums, Pearl Jam has proven itself to be far and away the most durable band to come from the original grunge movement. (Also the best, I would argue.) Nirvana trumps them on mystique and cultural impact, mostly because Kurt Cobain blew his brains out, but Pearl Jam had the courage to experiment, to risk failure, to grow up and shed the voice-of-a-generation pressure, to persevere.
And now for the just desserts: A sprawling reissue program that leads up to their 20th anniversary in 2011, kicked off by an expanded re-release of the band's mega-hit debut.
Ten [Deluxe Edition] includes the original album, plus another CD showcasing a remix by producer Brendan O'Brien that additionally includes previously unissued bonus tracks. Also part of the package is a DVD of PJ's 1992 set on MTV Unplugged.
Pearl Jam has made plenty of terrific recorded music during its tenure, but no cluster is as perfect as the first six songs of their debut album, a visceral, revelatory sequence: "Once," "Even Flow," "Alive," "Why Go," "Black" and "Jeremy." If Nirvana's Nevermind told us that hair-band rock was on its last legs, the first half of Ten threw dirt on its grave. The album's ensuing tracks are solid, but to these ears they represent a noticeable drop-off in songcraft.