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Source Material

Source Material: Pearl Jam, Ten

Source Material: Pearl Jam, Ten


If you're a regular reader, then you know Napster's aims with our Source Material series. It's a way for the music geeks around here to tell an album's story through words, and more importantly, music. Usually, this contextualization takes the form of a slew of records and artists that inspired and informed the featured album.

Pearl Jam's Ten, however, forced me to alter this approach.

You'll definitely find a nice selection of basic influences down below, from Neil Young and Ted Nugent to Dinosaur Jr. and The Stooges. But here's the thing with Pearl Jam: by the time Ten conquered mainstream youth culture at the end of 1992, their unique and striking sound was far more a result of the myriad bands Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Dave Krusen, Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder had previously served time in. They were rock veterans, already. For them, the formative days -- when musicians invariably ape their heroes in search of something new and exciting -- had occurred several years earlier, in the mid-1980s. Ament and Gossard cut their teeth in numerous Seattle bands and side projects, including Green River and later Mother Love Bone and Temple of the Dog. McCready and Krusen also experienced their fair share of underground toil in the process of developing their respective chops. Then there's Eddie Vedder, who despite having launched a million inferior copycats over the last two decades, didn't really sound like anybody else in the early 1990s. The only singers comparable, fellow Seattle howlers Chris Cornell and Mark Lanegan, were from the same nexus of bands.

Thus, the story of Ten is also the story of a scene and sound and how they evolved together.