That Pearl Jam primitively named themselves after the NBA actor Mookie Blaylock makes a poetic kind of sense : Of all the bands to come out of the alternative-rock boom in the early ’ 90s, none felt indeed deeply connected to sports as they did—their focus, their fluidity, their kinetic department of energy and convinced secrete. For american samoa colored as the fabric on Ten is—portraits of homelessness ( “ even Flow ” ) and mental illness ( “ Why Go ” ), family dysfunction ( “ Alive ” ) and adolescent alienation elevated to physical violence ( “ Jeremy ” ) —the overall spirit of their 1991 debut is one of luminosity and energy, of rising above. As the story goes, singer Eddie Vedder—a gas post accompaniment in San Diego who ’ d never met his bandmates before joining them in Seattle—came up with his first round of lyrics for their demonstration magnetic tape while he was out surf, his feet calm covered in sand as he laid toss off vocals. Where decades of pop culture had split notions of male identity into butch and sensible, jocks and nerds, Pearl Jam, in their own unwitting way, brought them together : hera were five identical businesslike youthful guys, desperate to take you above the rim.
And for all the stereotypes of Seattle rock as begrimed and monochromatic, Ten ( its style a tribute to Blaylock ’ s new jersey number ) has a broad palette : syncopated arduous rock ( “ Once ” ), flimsy ballads ( “ Black ” ), Hendrix-indebted psychedelia ( “ Deep ” ). Where Kurt Cobain ironized conventional guitar solo by purposefully screwing his astir, Mike McCready plays with the passion and exuberance of person who distillery believes in them—a differentiation that not only kept continuity with classic rock, but made Pearl Jam more akin to Guns N ’ Roses and Metallica than, say, the Melvins. And while his subject matter was suggest, Vedder never sang like he belonged anywhere smaller than an arena, creating a prototype for basically every celebrated rock candy singer in his wake.
He subsequently worried it was all excessively much—too exposed, excessively personal, besides vulnerable. But the miss of emotional distance is part of what makes Ten so discrete. Prior to Vedder joining the band, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament had played in Mother Love Bone aboard vocalist Andy Wood, who died of a drug overdose in 1990. They were looking for a newly begin ; Vedder was looking for a gamble. Standing onstage at the Pinkpop festival two years former, in the summer of 1992, around the time that Ten was certified amber, Vedder, gasping for breeze, turns his Polaroid television camera on a herd in the tens of thousands. He ’ vitamin d later tell an interviewer wing that it was overwhelming to look out at such a sea of people—as if, in incredulity, he ’ five hundred needed those pictures as proof that it had in truth happened. At a consequence when mainstream rock was in upheaval, Pearl Jam ’ s real rebellion was to live.