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Pearl Jam: Twenty (OST)

Album Review

Celebrating two decades of grunge.

Once you get over the shock of realising it’s a whopping 20 years since Seattle became the capital of the music world, Kurt was king and plaid was the national uniform, it’s a pleasure to celebrate that big milestone with Pearl Jam, whose debut Ten was released in 1991.

To mark the occasion, they’ve become the subject of a new documentary by fanboy and Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe, and the live tracks and demos from it collected here show how fresh their music still sounds and also how perfect their live performances are – there’s barely a bum note from Eddie Vedder, his rich baritone dripping with emotion on opening track Release. There’s a real sense of being there, for better or for worse – Garden is ruined by a Zurich audience who yack all the way through it. 

While the hits are well represented (no Jeremy, though), it’s the inclusion of rarities like Crown Of Thorns (originally by Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard’s old band Mother Love Bone, and included on Crowe’s grunge-com Singles) that will have fans a-flutter. 

Twenty years on, Pearl Jam still sound utterly alive.

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