My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Every now and then I need a break from the albums of the era I am in. That is the case hear and this was a random pick.
Brief Background: Ten was recorded over a two month period in early 1991 and was released in August of the same year. Most of the songs started as instrumental demos that made their way to Eddie Vedder in San Diego. Vedder then wrote lyrics to the songs and sent those demos back to the the rest of the group in Seattle who were impressed with the results and flew him in for an audition.
What I think:
This album has gone through some cycles of admiration for me over the years. I initially fully embraced it as a thirteen year old watching the Jeremy video endlessly play on Mtv (I still visualize that video when hearing the song, especially that black board swinging back and forth) . I at one point picked up a cassette version of the album (I believe I lifted it from my sister’s collection) and listened to it through and through. At some point though, I ceased listening to it, either, because I was just so burnt on hearing most of the songs, or because I had moved toward Punk Rock and the guitar heroics on the album became somewhat passe to me. Either way, I didn’t listen to it for a good twenty years and just came back to it in the last couple. I’m sort of glad for that now, as I still get such a huge emotional response to these songs that I may not have if I hadn’t given it such a huge break.
It has stood the test of time pretty well, with “Once” and “Even Flow” (I still only know about every sixth word in those lyrics) being the most dated sounding to me. From there though, things sound pretty fresh. The previously mentioned guitar heroics are pretty interesting to me now, it’s really cool the way they are so big, but built into the songs unlike a true solo. I love the way that huge music and dark lyrics create these amazing hooks that make your hair stand on end and goose bumps break out on my arms. This happens every time I hear “Porch” or “Release” and the song which is easily the highlight of the album: “Black”.
My god do I love that song. It would easily make any top ten songs of all time list for me. I remember listening to it over and over as a teen (on cassette that wasn’t an easy feat) and wanted to do the same again after hearing it for this project. It just subtly builds in such and amazing way into those climactic lyrics of:
“I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life
I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s sky
But why, why, why can’t it be, can’t it be mine?”
…and then the outro of the the “do do do”… it’s transcendence in music, a near religious experience.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? This isn’t a perfect album, but it has its perfect moments. I’ve always preferred VS. to this album, but I don’t think the highs of that album can beat the highs of this one.
Rating (Out of 5): 4.5
Ten Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (48/237)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 80%