Pearl Jam Re-Issues Debut ‘Ten’ in Elaborate New Packaging; It’s Still Horrible
Oscar Wilde once quipped that, “A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, but a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.” And nascent Pearl Jam, it must be said, were virtually astonishing in their misdirected disdain for everything – revolutionary zeal, unapologetic swagger, dissolute glamour – that had made rock & roll such a glorious “fuck-you” to the establishment, in favor of a ridiculous, stultifying earnestness.
Tragically, it all stuck, and twelve-fucking-million sales after the release of their deplorably grumpy-pussed debut (now being reissued in four elaborate, digitally remastered editions – uh…hooray?), the very image of rock stardom had somehow shifted from Bowie and Ozzy to that of a pitiful, flannel-bedecked misery-guts piffling on about absolutely nothing.
The songs on Ten actually sound shockingly more insufferable this far out of their original grunge context, the anthemic sludge of the likes of ‘Alive’ and ‘Even Flow’ inexorably tarred with the brush of a turbid 1991 musical zeitgeist – and made all the more unpleasant by Eddie Vedder’s incomprehensibly anguished, constipation-chic vocals. Indeed, Mr. Mopey Pants, a privileged surfer dood from San Diego, sounds here like he’s literally howling out from the Killing Fields of Cambodia (Seriously, where’s Pol Pot when you need him?), as he drags the counterculture down into the whirlpool of embarrassing self-pity where it arguably remains to this day.
One can only pray that the act of creating this prodigious lump of musical doo doo will someday be punitively addressed by the International Criminal Court. Until then, we’d recommend stabbing yourself repeatedly in the head instead of listening to this.