"Ten" is still "Alive"

Holy shit! Last night I saw a commerical for the deluxe edition of Pearl Jam's debut Ten. I've been on this Earth for a mere 29 years, but suddenly I feel very, very, very old.

This re-issue includes a remastered version of the record and a remix done by long-time PJ producer Brendan O'Brien, six bonus tracks and a DVD of the group's 1992 performance on "MTV Unplugged."

By the time Ten came out in 1991, I was by no means a music novice. My tape collection (yes kids, there were these things called tapes) was pretty rad thanks to a healthy dose of Alice in Chains, Metallica, Guns n Roses, MC Hammer, the Beastie Boys, the Beatles, Living Colour and Nirvana, but I never liked those bands enough to buy a t-shirt.

Ten changed that.

I begged my mom to take me to the mall (cut me some slack, this was the 8th grade) to buy the band's infamous "nine out of 10 kids prefer crayons to guys" shirt. When you're in junior high, that's not just a cool band slogan, it's a fucking political statement. I didn't know then what statement I was making, nor do I know now, but I was definitely saying something.

By the time Pearl Jam's follow-up Vs. came out, my fandom was running pretty rampant. In fact, my cassette copy is called Five Against One, the album's original title. I listened to Vs. or Five Against One a handful of times and thought it was a solid come back to Ten.

But all was not well for me and Pearl Jam. In an ironic twist of fate, the grunge hype that I was spoonfed led me to check out other bands, those who were loosely or directly associated with the grunge all-stars of the early 1990s. So in a matter of weeks, Pearl Jam was out and Mudhoney was in. From there it was Black Flag, the Germs and the Descendents and I haven't thought about Pearl Jam since (although I never lost my love of Nirvana -- for some reason, they remained cool while Pearl Jam became really lame).

But I digress. This Ten reissue seems like a pretty good deal, unless you consider every motherfucker in America already owns this album. Seriously, I'm going to stop buying records and just wait a decade later until the re-issue comes out. Then I get what I want plus a whole lot more. Or wait...since the world's gone tech crazy, why not just gives record buyers (assuming those still exist) these complete packages from day one?

I know, it's wrong of me to take out my re-issue hate on Pearl Jam. They didn't start the fire and I'm sure it will continue to go on and on and on and on.

And let me go on record as saying this: All you fellow early '90s grunge rockers out there need to understand that music trends work in 20-year cycles. This means flannel and Big Muff pedals are about to make a major comeback, which leaves us with two options: Embrace this and frolic like we are young and dumb again or recognize how old and lame we've become and do our best to not jump off the nearest tall building.


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