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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pearl Jam Looks Back With Reissue

My favorite band, Pearl Jam, has reissued their classic debut album "Ten" and opened the vault to include impressive extras such as their previously unreleased MTV Unplugged performance on DVD. There are four editions of this reissue package to choose from, depending on how much you want to spend and what kind of extras are most important to you.
The details of the reissue packages below are taken directly from the band's website:

Legacy Edition (2-disc set in mini-LP style slipcase):
Disc 1: original Ten tracklisting digitally remastered (original mix)
Disc 2: original Ten tracklisting digitally remastered and remixed by Brendan O’Brien, plus six bonus tracks: "Brother," "Just a Girl," "State of Love and Trust," "Breath and a Scream," "2,000 Mile Blues" and "Evil Little Goat"
Re-designed packaging


Deluxe Edition (2-disc set plus DVD specially designed hardbound package):
Disc 1: original Ten tracklisting digitally remastered (original mix)
Disc 2: original Ten tracklisting digitally remastered and remixed by Brendan O’Brien, plus six bonus tracks: "Brother," "Just a Girl," "State of Love and Trust," "Breath and a Scream," "2,000 Mile Blues" and "Evil Little Goat"
DVD of Pearl Jam’s previously unreleased 1992 MTV Unplugged performance including never before seen bonus performance of "Oceans" with 5.1 surround sound audio remix

Vinyl Collection (2-LP set)
LP 1: original Ten tracklisting remastered for vinyl
LP 2: original Ten tracklisting remastered for vinyl and remixed by Brendan O’Brien

Super Deluxe Edition (2-disc set plus DVD, 4 LPs and replica cassette in linen-covered, slip-cased clamshell box):
Disc 1: original Ten tracklisting digitally remastered (original mix)
Disc 2: original Ten tracklisting digitally remastered and remixed by Brendan O’Brien, plus six bonus tracks: "Brother," "Just a Girl," "State of Love and Trust," "Breath and a Scream," "2,000 Mile Blues" and "Evil Little Goat"
DVD of Pearl Jam’s previously unreleased 1992 MTV Unplugged performance including never before seen bonus performance of "Oceans" with 5.1 surround sound audio remix
LP 1: original Ten tracklisting remastered for vinyl
LP 2: original Ten tracklisting remastered for vinyl and remixed by Brendan O’Brien
LP 3 & 4: Drop in the Park – Live at Magnuson Park in Seattle on September 20, 1992 (audio mixed by Brendan O’Brien)
Cassette: replica of original "Momma-Son" Pearl Jam demo cassette featuring "Alive," "Once" and "Footsteps"
Package also includes an Eddie Vedder-style composition notebook filled with replica personal notes, images and mementos from the collections of Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament, a vellum envelope with replicated era-specific ephemera from Pearl Jam’s early work and a two-sided print commemorating the Drop in the Park concert.


Upon hearing the news of this reissue, I was both excited and nostalgic in equal parts. This band started just like any other, born in the early 90's from the Seattle scene that became known as the "Grunge" movement. They're the only band from the era to survive and they've done so by constantly evolving, with only a few changes in the lineup on the drums. What excited me most about the release of these packages was the inclusion of the Unplugged performance on DVD. I originally purchased "Ten" the day after watching Unplugged, and I remember the feeling I had upon seeing that performance as though it was yesterday.

I think the guys did a great job of considering what kind of extras their fans would want; the fans' demand for the Unplugged DVD is the primary reason for its inclusion. However, I was disappointed that the Super Deluxe Edition included the recordings on both vinyl and CD because I wanted all of the extra memorabilia but have no use for LP's. For that reason, I went with the Deluxe Edition for both versions of the album on CD and the Unplugged DVD. The replicated demo cassette is a huge piece of the band's history and the notebook with pictures and notes by members would be fun to explore while "Ten" plays, telling the story of the band. They would have been nice to have, but I'm enjoying this package very much.

I've listened to the remastered original album and the remixed version and the remixed version definitely highlights the raw energy of the band more than the polished original, although the differences are fairly subtle. Producer Brendan O'Brien had a lot of respect for the original so he was careful not to change the structure of any of the album but rather to enhance the sound in parts. I think he did a fine job and I'm glad he's on the mixing board for their next album of new material. Overall, this is a great gift for Pearl Jam fans and from what I understand they will reissue more of their albums but not with the kind of red carpet treatment that "Ten" got as this album deserves special attention. It will forever be a "Must Own" album for my collection, for good reason.

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