ten-reissue

If you look back on your acquired music collection, is there one album that you can pin point as being the quintessential Big Bang? One album that gave you a whopping kick up the back side and determinded your outlook on music from that moment onwards? Today I am reliving that very moment.

My earliest music memories are a bizarre brew with The Beatles and Paul & Art as main ingredients (thanks to my mom) and smaller helpings of Carpenters, Linda Rondstadt, and Neil Diamond (and thank you dad…). For whatever reason this resulted in Whitney Houston‘s 1990 release I’m Your Baby Tonight being the first official tape I bought at the tender age of 11.

For a long time after that I got stuck in a nondespcript swamp of R&B drivel, with a quite intense phase of Mariah Carey dedication around the age of 12 (yes, it’s confession time), and an interest in the likes of Boys II Men and Jade (click for youtube links if you are also in the mood for reminiscing by the way).

After all this sublimely slick, over produced and sickly sweet input I was ready for something with a bit more of an edge. When I hit 13 I veered towards Mary J. Blige, Naughty By Nature and ultimately A Tribe Called Quest, who I still love to this day.

But then around came 1993, and everything changed. I was late to sign up for the grunge movement at that time, considering Nevermind was released in 1991, but I guess it took reaching the age of 14 before I could fully ingest the Seattle wave. Suddenly all things R&B were of no significance whatsoever.

Soon after I fell head over heels in love with a green Doc Martens wearing grunge boy and he gave me the cd that awakened the music-hungry monster in me: Pearl Jam‘s Ten. I don’t think I listened to anything else for at least a solid month. Nothing I heard before had ever had such a profound effect on me. I can recall the intoxicating excitement of hearing songs like Once, Black, Porch and State of Love and Trust for the first time.

As I look at my cd collection and iTunes library spanning the fifteen years that have passed since first hearing Ten, it’s influence is omnipresent. It brought me straight to Counting CrowsAugust And Everything After, and opened my ears to know instantly that Radiohead was to be the love of my life upon hearing Killer Cars. Eddie Vedder’s songwriting ignited a long standing passion for singer songwriters, from Jeff Buckley to Elliott Smith and on to Bright Eyes. Thank you Pearl Jam (and thank you grunge boy)!

Which brings me to the main reason for writing this post: the 2009 reissue of Ten! Coming up to the band’s 20th anniversary, Pearl Jam have kicked off festivities by releasing 4 deluxe versions of Ten, most notably with a (less worked, cleaner) remix of the original album and previously unreleased bonus tracks.

I walked out of the music store today anxiously holding the 2-cd and dvd package, feeling 14 all over again. I popped in the band’s 1992 MTV Unplugged session the moment I got home and vigorously banged my 29 year old head with Eddie to the ever awesome Porch:

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