March 7, 2009

Births & Anniversaries

First off, the Beauty's little babe joined IRL earlier this week. Maeve Lililm was born at 7:24 pm on March 3rd. No word on her Twitter name yet. Congratulations, partner.

On to the blogginating. Pearl Jam is re-releasing their debut album Ten along with a remixed version with bonus track on March 24th. I played their crazy Pearl Jam Ten Game in order to unlock tracks from the album so I could (sort of) review them for you. Personally, I've been looking forward to a remix because I think the original version is gross. My first Pearl Jam album was the much slicker Vs. and I've never really been satisfied with Ten, preferring live, remixed, and radio versions of the tracks. Hopefully now, I can stop complaining.

These were the tracks I listened to this morning:

Once - Nice mix, finally. The original Ten had way to much reverb everywhere--on snares, on vocals, on every fart recorded in the isolation booth--and I'm pleased to say that most of it is now gone. The guitars don't sound like the seventies anymore and the vocals don't sound amateur. And the bass is right up there too. I probably would have liked to see some of the mumbly background Vedder-patter removed, but I can deal with it.

Why Go - Again, most of the musical cheese here is gone, so we're just left with the corny lyrics. Yeah, it's their debut album, so they needed some aggressive stuff to go along with the purdy parts. When I personally revist Ten, I really only want to hear "Black", "Oceans", and "Release" because I'm an old pussy now I guess. When I was younger, I would listen to these "tougher, angry" tracks like "Why Go" and "Deep" because I didn't know what tough and angry was yet (Hint: it usually isn't saturated in reverb or wah-wah pedals). Ok, the song still isn't heavier, but it definitely sounds better. I noticed an extra hi-hat hit at the first "Why go home?" part that I never heard before followed by some vocal effects that are actually cornier now than they were 20 years ago. Bad Brendan O'Brien! You lose, American asshole!

Jeremy - Sounds good. I think this was remixed for the video in the first place anyway. The only major differences I hear between this mix and the already remixed remix mix are more defined background vocals throughout and some guitars cleaned up during the verses and towards the end. Actually, the drums sound better too, like they're being hit harder somehow. Improved when I didn't think there was room for improvement.

Breath - A sluggish and unnecessary take. Ok, I can hear the lyrics better, but it's still an inferior version to the one recorded for the Singles soundtrack. I know it's big deal when they do it live, but I don't care for that either. I don't want to clearly hear the line "A breath and a scream." I want to hear the line slur into the next line ("A breath and a s-Oh, reach the door...") because it simply flows better. It's not horrible, but I just can't imagine ever purposely listen to this version.

Brother - This song blows as much as it did in the 90's. I've read that band members used to fight about whether or not to ever play or record this track. This song really shouldn't have seen the light of day. I don't know why any radio stations are playing it now.

Besides "Brother" and "Breath," there are 4 other B-sides being included on the O'Brien remastered disc: "Just a Girl," "State of Love and Trust," "2,000 Mile Blues",and "Evil Little Goat." Of these, I think I'm only famililar with "State of Love and Trust" which again, I don't think can possibly be improved from the Singles movie soundtrack version. I've heard a two second snippet of "State of Love and Trust" and it sounds a little slower, but with the snare in double time. I don't know how I feel about that.

Now you may be asking "Where are the re-recorded versions of 'Alive' and 'Even Flow' I hear still on the radio that Pearl Jam already had done in the 90s for their MTV videos with drummer Dave Abruzzeze that were way better than the Ten versions"? That's what I'm asking too. I don't know the answer. I never owned those versions because they were always on expensive imports, but I thought they were so good that it ruined the album versions for me. I don't think remixes of the original will surpass those versions. They may have been on that Rearviewmirror greatest hits package that came out 5 or so years ago. I didn't buy that, so I don't know. You can do the research.

The 2-disc collection comes with the original Ten (why?) and the O'Brien remix. The Deluxe Edition comes with the MTV Unplugged DVD, which is what I'll probably be picking up. I really hope it's the complete version though, with the unaired "Even Flow," "State of Love and Trust," "Rockin' in the Free World," and "Oceans." The press release only mentions "Oceans" but the website also has "Even Flow" playing. I don't know why they wouldn't just give a complete tracklisting to appease crazies like me who are sitting here wasting precious blogspace wondering all day and night. It's nice to hear that they didn't correct Eddie Vedder's lyrical flub during "Black." Pearl Jam's Lost Dogs B-side compilation album a few years featured lots of vocal recordings on old songs and they were all awkward and inferior.

There's also a vinyl version called the Who Fucking Cares About Vinyl Edition?

The Collector's Edition has all that plus a live concert LP from Seattle entitled "You Probably Don't Need Another Pearl Jam Concert Because We Have Already Released A Thousand, But Here It Is Anyway: Live." You also get a cassette version of the original Pearl Jam demo tape called "Momma-Son." This is the one that was sent as an instrumental to Eddie Vedder and which he sang lyrics over and blah blah blah history. I've heard these tracks before. They're interesting, but like most demos, they're really nothing to ever listen to over and over again. I don't even have a cassette player. Finally, this set comes with an "Eddie Vedder style composition notebook" which I probably would've studied 20 years ago, but now I don't have any time or room for. I can't imagine that it will be as long or as personal as the Kurt Cobain diary anyway. Therefore, I have no intention of spending $125 for all that junk. Even $28 is a tough sell for the Deluxe Edition, when I don't know for sure what's on the DVD and I don't really need another copy of the original Ten mix.

I don't know what else Pearl Jam has in store: "The reissue of Ten serves as the launch of a planned two-year catalogue re-release campaign leading up to the band's 20th anniversary in 2011." Does that mean they'll be giving disc the remix and special packaging treatment? If so, it seems a little like overkill. Especially because I don't want to have to write a blog entry for each one.


kcw said...

"The reissue of Ten serves as the launch of a planned..." reinvention of the band to adhere to the money making schemes of the Dave Matthews Band.

Next up, a best of album featuring tracks from other best of albums.

teh Beauty said...

Yay! Babies. Her twitter name is @maevelilim