Revisiting “Ten”, the timeless debut of Pearl Jam turns 32

The seminal Grunge Rock album still sounds as fresh as it did when it was released in 1991

Revisiting “Ten”, the timeless debut of Pearl Jam turns 32

From the ashes of Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam were born, and on the 27 of August 1991 they released their debut album “Ten”, a landmark in Rock music. Shortly before the Grunge fever hit the world by surprise, 1991 saw a vast release of Seattle bands seminal albums, Soundgarden’s “Badmotorfinger” and Nirvana’s “Nevermind” among it. Although Pearl Jam never cultivated a dirty ferocious sound like Nirvana did, “Ten” became one of the triggers for the Alternative Rock revolution that shook the early 90’s. The seminal album, that features some of the greatest modern rock classics, ruled the airwaves between 1991 and 1992 together with “Nevermind”. while soundwise, both albums are a world away, whilst Nirvana’s “Nevermind” approaches the classic Punk feeling and dirty garage rock, “Ten” inclines more towards influences of well mastered 1970’s and 1980’s Hard Rock, a formula the band would progressively drop during their subsequent albums. “Even Flow”, “Alive”, “Black”, “Jeremy” and “oceans” offered instant hits for the band, alongside a selection of flawless tracks like “Once”, “Porch” or “Why Go”. Closing tracks “Garden”, “Deep” and “Release” offers a more intimiste look into Pearl Jam’s music. These songs much closer to the formula Pearl Jam would start using in the future, showcase much more of their 1960’s music influences, specially in “Deep”. Overall, “Ten” it’s an essential album for music lovers, not just Rock lovers, it’s one of the greatest albums made in the last three decades, influential and memorable, with songs that still can transport you to the early 90’s and to the Grunge Rock era, but at the same time, songs that also remain fresh and contemporary (something curious and notable in several of the Grunge Rock albums released during that period is the enduring freshness of the songs, perhaps due to the last great mass creativity era Rock has gone through) For some, this is Pearl Jam’s signature album, their very best, it can be however disputed, their second album “Vs” and third album “Vitalogy” are also solid albums, with a string of enduring hits and good songs, but “Ten” conserves the aura of being the first album, and because it was such a good one, it will perhaps always remain their best, or at least, the favorite for non-fans of the Seattle band that still dispute “Ten” as a Grunge album or a FM Rock album.

All lyrics written by Eddie Vedder

Side A
1 “Once” (Stone Gossard)
2 “Even Flow” (Gossard)
3 “Alive” (Gossard)
4 “Why Go” (Jeff Ament)
5 “Black” (Gossard)
6 “Jeremy”(Ament)

Side B
7 “Oceans” (Gossard/Ament/Vedder)
8 “Porch” (Eddie Vedder)
9 “Garden” (Gossard/Ament)
10 “Deep” (Gossard/Ament)
11 “Release” (Gossard/Ament/DaveKrusen/MikeMcCready/Vedder)

Stone Gossard: rhythm guitar
Jeff Ament: bass guitar, art direction/concept
Mike McCready: lead guitar
Eddie Vedder: vocals, additional art
Dave Krusen: drums, timpani

Produced by:Rick Parashar and Pearl Jam
Recorded during: March 27 – April 26, 1991 at the London Bridge Studios, Seattle, Washington
Released:August 27, 1991
Label: Epic

“Alive” Released: August 1, 1991
“Even Flow” Released: April 6, 1992
“Jeremy” Released: September 27, 1992
“Oceans” Released: December 7, 1992

Strongest tracks:
“Alive”, “Even Flow” , “Jeremy”, “Oceans” , “Black”, “Once” , “Garden”

Watch the 1991 music video “Alive” by Pearl Jam

Watch the 1992 music video “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam

Watch the 1992 music video “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam

Watch the 1992 music video “Oceans” by Pearl Jam

Listen to the album “Ten” on Spotify

Watch more 1990’s related videos


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David Warren

David Warren is editor and author for Pop Expresso reach out at

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