Mar 12, 2012 Album Reviews
Posted by JD
Pearl Jam’s album Ten is the reason I first picked up
an electric guitar. In 8th grade, I was an awkward kid who could strum a few chords on an old Fender acoustic. One day, on a whim, I picked up a used copy of Pearl Jam’s Ten at a record store. I had never listened to them before. I went home, put it into my stereo, and lay down on my bed to listen. 53 minutes and 24 seconds later my musical life was changed. From that moment on, I wanted to play electric guitar.
I honestly don’t know where to start with describing this album and I already know that I won’t do it justice. For the sake of space, I am going to focus on the guitar playing. First off, Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, the two guitar players in Pearl Jam, are two of the most underappreciated guitarists of all time. Honestly, I believe that Mike McCready—who plays lead—should be in the top 10 of greatest rock guitarists of all time. If you disagree, I ask you to listen to the guitar solo in the song “Alive.” It is, in my opinion, one of the best solos ever recorded. To this day, whenever I hear it, I have to stop whatever I am doing and, as if hypnotized, play air guitar—this is quite dangerous when heavy machinery is involved. McCready’s skills are all over Ten: the lightning fast runs in “Why Go,” the slide and wah infused “Deep,” and the cathartic “Black” and “Release.” While Gossard doesn’t play much of the lead on this album, he is the mastermind songwriter behind most of the songs. He is responsible for the delicious riffs in “Alive,” “Even Flow,” and “Black” and his playing creates the wonderful atmosphere found in every song. As talented as McCready and Gossard are in their own right, they also complement each other beautifully in their playing. Their parts seem interwoven in a very intricate and choreographed dance. They never take away from each other. They make the delicate moments even more beautiful and the huge moments even more intense and exciting. They are the example par excellence of how good guitar players should play together.
I could go on and on about this album and this band—if you couldn’t tell already, Pearl Jam is by far my favorite band—but I don’t want this post to turn into a novel. Put simply, Ten is a great album in every aspect. It truly shines in the realm of guitar playing. If you have never listened to Pearl Jam or this album, do yourself a favor and check it out!