Being the uber-Pearl Jam geek that I am, sure I splurged and bought the mega-collector set of the re-release of Pearl Jam’s Ten. It comes out today but I pre-ordered through the fan club and it arrived on Friday. I actually didn’t get a chance to listen to the discs much at all over the weekend.
I ripped the CDs to iTunes of both the Remix by Brendan O’Brien and the Remastered edition and spooled up the Unplugged DVD on Friday night. I probably hadn’t watched that since 2000 or so. It was pretty odd, but also pretty awesome to see all the songs (only four were shown on MTV’s reruns) and of course have it on DVD. Although I didn’t think the video quality was that great and it wasn’t in widescreen format of course. One other oddity on the video, admitted Cubs fan, Vedder was sporting a White Sox cap. I only noticed because now I live in Chicago. Of course, he was friends with Black Jack McDowell at one point...
I didn’t get “quality time” with headphones until Monday. The Remix by Brendan O’Brien is really stunning. If you were one of the 12 million people who bought the original album (and I’m guessing most dads my age are) the update will sound fresh. This is more of how the band wanted the songs to sound. They definitely have more of an organic sound to them. They’re stripped and Vedder’s vocal are grittier as well.
What I find most interesting though is all the guitar work that was completely lost somehow the first time around. A lot of little nuances by both Mike McCready and Stone Gossard are heard for the first time here. Plus, the Remix gets new versions of Breath and State of Love and Trust from the Singles soundtrack. The version of State seems really raw, and I don’t think it’s actually what was on the soundtrack, but I’ll have to look into that.
The Remastered version is just OK. I don’t really think it sounds much better than before and after hearing the Remix I don’t think I’ll ever play it again.
You can get both versions in the regular re-release edition. You have to move up to a more expensive one to get the DVD of Unplugged and then leap into the void of fandom to get the vinyl LPs and geeky goodies like a composition book, original demo tape and live MP3 Drop in the Park code.
Drop in the Park sounds great though and renews my anger at the band for not releasing more of their older bootlegs. Supposedly they’ve taped every show, and if they sound half as good as Drop in the Park they should all see the light of day.
I don’t take the fact that I just dropped over $100 on a special edition lightly as everyone is on a budget these days, especially parents. But these days I spend so much less on music this is a rare splurge. Plus, Carter will one day get to listen to Ten the way it was intended. And you can’t put a price on that.
Oh, and if you think this is bad you should have seen me in the old days before the Internet and official bootlegs. Check out some of the unofficial boots I still have!