The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time

46

'Ten'

pearl jam
Courtesy Epic Records

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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