Pearl Jam – Ten

The year was 2006. I was 13 years old, in the eighth grade, and finally beginning to express my individuality more through the clothes that I wore, and the music I listened to. As I began this “era” of my life of effectively exclusively wearing band T-shirts and constantly discovering new music, the first band, and certainly the first record that truly resonated with me and my excessive teenage angst was the 1991 debut classic from Seattle’s grunge pioneers, Pearl Jam. The album itself was incredible, both musically and lyrically. I found myself wondering how a song such as Black could evoke so many emotions in me, during what would turn out to be a relatively tough period of my life. I recall walking down to the local deli regularly on thursdays after school in order to pick up the latest copy of X-Press Magazine, which provided both an excellent way of keeping up to date with the latest gigs and releases, as well as lots of brilliant photos of my favourite artists, which I would cut out and blu-tack into a sort of collage of all my favourite musical idols. Around the same time, I must have decided that, even though I didn’t own a record player, if there was one album which I was going to own on vinyl as opposed to CD, it was to be Pearl Jam’s Ten. I took two buses and a train into the Perth CBD in order to visit the wonderful 78 Records on Hay Street, where I was fortunate enough to find a copy of the record. I took it home and immediately opened it from the shrink wrap, deciding to blu-tack the sleeve/cover to the wall directly above my bed (with absolutely zero regard for its condition or resale value). This was an album that was incredibly meaningful to me, and I was going to make sure anyone who walked past my bedroom knew it. Ten stayed stuck to my wall above my bed for basically my entire adolescence, constantly surrounded by an ever-changing array of X-Press newspaper cutouts of bands and musicians. Though many things changed in my life throughout this period, including my overall music taste, the one thing that stayed exactly the same was my love for Pearl Jam, and their debut album Ten. This was an album that shaped my life, that moulded me into the person I am today. I have since moved out, acquired a Music Hall turntable and a vintage Pioneer SX-1010 receiver, and my record collection now spans 358 different titles spanning many genres. Though its condition now leaves a little to be desired, my most treasured record of all is still my first – Pearl Jam’s Ten.