Pearl Jam Scores A Perfect 'Ten'
Pearl Jam re-released one of its early albums this week.
As I type this, Brendan O'Brien's remixed version of "Alive" blares over my speakers, and I am brought back to my childhood bedroom where I excitedly put my first copy of the CD into my boom box. I remember going to the record store with my dad, buying the CD and rushing home to listen to the band that all of my classmates were raving about. Eighteen years later (scary thought) the 6th grader in me couldn't wait for to put the re-released CD in my computer. The circumstances may be different but the excitement hasn't changed a bit.
On March 24, the last remaining band from Seattle's early '90s grunge scene re-released its seminal album. In interviews, the band members have said they have been trying to get O'Brien to remix the album for many years, since they had a vision of what the record should sound like but thought only O'Brien could realize it. The re-release of "Ten" will be the first in a series of re-releases the band will put out between now and their 20th anniversary in 2011.
The crown jewel of the "Ten" re-release is the Super Deluxe version. It is a must-have for every Pearl Jam fan out there. The package comes with the original CD, the remixed version by O'Brien (with five unreleased outtakes), a DVD of the band's MTV Unplugged performance, vinyl editions of the album, the band's 1992 "Drop in the Park" concert on vinyl and an assortment of other goodies.
Sonically, the remixed album is stronger than the first. Whereas the original sound was more like the arena-driven sounds of the late '80s, the remixed version is more punky. The songs have a new sound, while remaining true to the original sound. Eddie Vedder's voice is more striking, and Mike McCready's guitar jumps out more than before. But it's Dave Krusen's drums that make the re-release sound full, adding punch and power that was missing from the original mixes.
It has been long coming. In an interview with Shockhound, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament said, "If there was an opportunity at some point to remix that record, it would actually be a version that we could listen to."
Many impostors (Creed, Seven Mary Three and Silverchair, to name a few) have tried to copy what Pearl Jam created with "Ten." But none had the talent or the songs to create the magic that Vedder and company displayed. Re-releasing this classic album shows how important Pearl Jam has been to rock music in the 18 years since its release and how a remix can create as much excitement as the original album, bringing out the 6th grader in us all.