George Starostin's Reviews



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Glenn Wiener <> (22.12.2002)

A good recording but not as revered as some fans might like to believe. 'Alive' and 'Black' are the two signature songs on this batch. Most of the rest are pretty cool but you are correct as they really aren't that distinguishable. Your three star rating matches my Amazon rating.

Kiel Pidgeon <> (31.12.2002)

What about 'Porch'? You say "fuck the rest" but what about 'Porch'? 'Porch' is an amazing song "All the bills go by, and initiatives are taken up by the middle, there ain't gonna be any middle any more, and the cross I'm bearing home, ain't indicative of my place" Best song on the album along with 'Why Go'. Really great review though, I don't really agree with your 3 star rating, but I also don't agree with everyone who thinks this is where Pearl Jam peaked. Ten is a good album when it stands alone, but with masterpieces like No Code and Vitalogy this album seems to just collect dust in my collection more than anything else. The thing that redeems this album in my eyes is that for all the success they had because of it, that success is what pushed them into their really great style on Vs.,Vitalogy, No Code, and Yield. The two things that really piss me off about this album are; #1 That it spawned complete and utter shit like Creed, Third Eye Blind and Matchbox 20. #2 That rather than try to sing in their own way everyone tries to copy Eddie's singing style on this album, except on future albums Eddie proves that although many have tried(and unfortunately many more will probably try)none of them can come anywhere close to matching his vocals.

Shaun <> (08.02.2003)

Hmmm i can't say i agree with your review.The First 8 songs on the cd are an awesome stretch of music. With 'Porch' being my favourite track on the album. 'Deep' is decent too.

David Dickson <> (24.02.2003)

Okay, now this just ain't right. Three? I'm not much of a 'Jam-head myself, but that ain't justified. Several things: 1.) Seven out of the eleven songs on here kick Buddha. There's the four singles, plus the opener "Once", the closer "Release" (whose lyrics, by the way, were improvised on the spot) and "Porch", which was inexplicably not released as a single. Probably because the execs hadn't quite caught onto this newfangled alt-rock mumbo-jumbo and didn't want to take too many risks. Pricks. Anyway--lotta good songs on there. 2.) The instrumentation is fantastic. You can talk about Pearl Jam being incredibly overrated as the supposed "second-best" band of Grungeville, and I'd probably agree with you to a certain extent, but hell Mary, can they ever play. Especially McCready and Ament--those dudes know their chops just as well as your average metal players, and perhaps a little better, 'cause they know the meaning of subtlety. I agree with you that Vedder's vioce CAN wear on the nerves after about 45 minutes of hearing it, but just listen to the last two minutes of "Alive", "Once", "Release", and especially "Black" and "Jeremy", and you'll realize the versatility behind the vocal cords there. You can't develop that kind of power on your own. The man has an ingrained gift, no doubt about it. Everyone trying to imitate him should just lip sync from now on. (*cough* STAPP) 3.) The production is startlingly high-quality for the debut of such a "weird" band--here you definitely got it wrong. I mean, if I were an indie-lover at the time, I would hear the first ten seconds and holler "sell-out!" "Cheap and muddy"? No way. Even those who don't like the band wouldn't call it that. Heck, it's almost as glossy as the production for Metallica's Metallica, released in the same year. Now, that doesn't automatically make it BETTER, mind you--at least not objectively. I just personally prefer good production to cheap production. And this album's production is definitely far from cheap. 4.) This is an album that obviously had a lot of care put into it, not just in the songwriting, recording, and mixing, but in the concept and sequencing--VERY unusual for a debut abum, much less a debut of a band this "outsider" in nature. Every track segues right into the next. You could almost call it a concept album, if indeed the concept was Eddie's troubled life and his subsequent "Release" from it. Judging from what I know of Buddhist philosophy, that mantra opening and closing the album probably symbolizes that yearning, and the "Ocean" detour might be a further extension of that.

SO--impressive album in every respect. Extremely ambitious, startlingly cohesive, and way better than the Smashing Pumpkins' similarly-styled but not-quite-as-good debut of the same year, Gish. And you're right--it is not COMPLETELY musically original. But in the long run, who cares? It's still listenable, resonant, and ultimately mind-blowing. Four and a half stars. (If it weren't for that "Garden" bore, it would have gotten five.)

<> (03.06.2003)

Hey George, I like your site. I've been reading it for a couple of years but have never posted a comment. Here's what I have on Ten:

Being their first album, Ten is bogged down by overproduction and inconsistent songwriting. I'm not saying it's a bad album, but in my opinion it is one of their weaker ones. Still some good tunes on here, and in the simplest possible context it's probably their "catchiest" album and you're likely to hear it on the radio more so than any of their other albums, if you're into listening to the radio. But Pearl Jam has improved. Vitalogy through Yield are good rock albums, each with their own merits. The guys got better at crafting tasteful melodies, varying arrangements in a way that enhances the feel of the song, etc. Their most recent album, Riot Act, may be their best to date. There is an energy in that album that was certainly lacking on Binaural, which was a huge letdown for me. Ed Vedder seems to be a pretty cool guy too, with him hating Bush and all and not being afraid to say it. No one owns Pearl Jam. Ten's certainly not great, but it's far above the music of most popular rock bands today. Ten is a solid debut for a band that would grow to produce better music.

Tony Souza <> (20.07.2003)

They called this album Ten because that's Mookie Blaylock's (a basketball player) jersey number.

This is a great album, but I never thought of this as the be-all and end-all of PJ. I don't think of this as their peak, but as their starting point. It doesn't surprise me that it took a few listens before you started seeing some of it's merits. PJ's music is that way. Even though they can be a loud rock band, their strengths are subtle - the lyrics, the guitar interplay of McCready and Gossard, the funk-rock bass stylings of Ament, etc. are not easily heard on first listen. Only after several listens does it start to sink in.

I also agree that PJ are not grunge. Like you said, they use grunge elements, but their music at this point was more arena-rock oriented. Mudhoney and the Melvins, to me, are more grunge.

As for the album itself, it's fairly strong. "Release" is the best thing on here, although most of the others stand the test of time. The production isn't the best, but it's not horrible either. Pearl Jam, like all great groups, grew from here. They didn't repeat themselves over and over again. No Code and Binaural sound nothing like Ten.

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