.

The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time

46

'Ten'


pearl jam
Courtesy Epic Records
46/100

Pearl Jam
Epic, 1991

When their debut came out, Pearl Jam were competing with Nirvana in a grunge popularity contest they were bound to lose. Yet Ten is a near-perfect record: Eddie Vedder's shaky, agonized growl and Mike McCready's wailing guitar solos on "Alive" and "Jeremy" push both songs to the brink and back again. Where Nirvana proposed a violent broke with classic rock, Pearl Jam worked in the tradition of the Who, giving estranged, forgotten Gen X refugees the arena-stage they deserved. Their influence has been incalculable and – Creed notwithstanding – pretty great.


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