Sound — 9
"Ten" is without a doubt one of the most influential albums of the 1990's. Having seen initial slow sales, this didn't stop the album from climbing the Billboard 200 to spot number 2, outselling Nirvana's "Nevermind" and as of April 2009 has been certified as thirteen times platinum by the RIAA. However, while the album was very successful, Pearl Jam was interested in what the album would sound like if it were deconstructed and remixed. The result is the reissue of Ten. O'Brien went for a "more direct sound" in this version of Ten. While the original seemed to have lots of reverb and the music tended to be quieter, the new album has more of a "raw" edge to it, making it seem much more like a live performance. The entire album is much louder, with Vedder's voice being the centerpiece. Unlike the original, Gossard's rhythm guitar and Ament's bass-lines are much more pronounced, especially in Ament's case, while the lead guitar work of McCready seems to cut through the mix, rather than blend with it. In addition to the original songs, the reissue of Ten also included a whopping six bonus songs: Brother, Just a Girl, Breath and a Scream, State of Love and Trust, 2,000 Mile Blues, and Evil Little Goat. With the exception of the last two, the bonus tracks fit very well with the overall theme and sound of Ten, making it sound more like a continuation of the album rather than bonus tracks. 2,000 Mile Blues showcases Pearl Jam's ability to play a rocked-up blues song, and while it doesn't really fit with the other songs, it is a nice glimpse into another often overlooked side of Pearl Jam. Evil Little Goat seems more like a humorous jam session rather than an actual song, with Vedder repeating the phrase She was an evil little goat, goat, goat over and over again while occasionally making a few Baaaa noises for good measure.
Lyrics — 9
Vedder's vocals have and continue to be a central part of Pearl Jam's music. His performance on the original songs of Ten has not changed, nor does it need to. His strong vocal abilities along with powerful lyrics make Ten an emotionally strong album. On the new tracks, Vedder's lyrics do not disappoint, maintaining the same high level of vocals as on the original release of Ten. With his signature use of vibrato and with lyrics that make every song special, Vedder shows no signs of slowing down. His lyrics fit very well with the music: when a song needs to sound angry and aggressive, his vocals are angry and aggressive. When you need more of a somber sound, Vedder once again delivers.
Overall Impression — 10
Ten is a staple of any Grunge fan's collection. Pearl Jam has more of a rock feel to them, versus the Punk feel of Nirvana and the Metal feel of Alice in Chains, making this album a refreshing glimpse into another aspect of the Seattle Sound. Whether you are a fan of Pearl Jam, a fan of Grunge, or just a fan of good music, then the reissue of Ten is right for you! Released alongside the original as a companion album, this makes it easy to compare both the original and the reissue side by side for a difference in sound. The extra songs alone are worth the purchase, but for a few dollars more you can also get the Deluxe Edition, containing an MTV Unplugged performance of Pearl Jam, along with a booklet having a scrapbook feel, showing scenes from the early days when they were still known as Mookie Blaylock. Check it out, I guarantee that it will not disappoint!