Ten was released August 27, 1991. Initially slow to sell, by the latter half of 1992 the album went gold and eventually surpassed sales of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’. Here, the often dark themes of the songs are interpreted through lomographs.
On the surface they may be slow and moody, or rock hard but there is always a groove to Ten. This was never truly present in any other Pearl Jam album, and perhaps no other.
What’s true to all the songs is that the lyrics and delivery always reveal Eddie Vedder’s emotions. They’re out there, unabashed. Sadly he’d withdraw in the albums after Ten, fear of fame and eventually an incident with a stalker caused him to retreat into his shell. You may think like many did at the time that this album was the commercial face of the grunge movement, whatever, no doubt it is a classic.
Here’s the lomographs:
Once: regardless of how you interpret the lyrics there is a central theme of a person on the edge, of anger and violence. This lomograph has this in spades.
Even Flow: a tragic tale of a homeless person, who eventually dies at the end of the song, of all the pictures I shortlisted, this one had the desperate personal confilct of the protagonist in Even Flow.
Alive: the central theme of this song is the discovery that a son’s father, whom he thought dead, is still alive but I always felt there was an undercurrent of regret and abandonment. This double exposure may not be of a father, nor may it speak of abandonment, but the feeling of regret of some sort is there on the mother’s part, that’s why I chose it.
Why Go: a girl abandoned by her parents and unnecessarily institutionalized. Do I need to rationalize?
Black: unrequited love, a man desperate at the loss of a lover. He sees her as the world around grows dark and for him, falls apart.
Jeremy: a song about a lonely, utterly desperate boy. This black and white image speaks to me of loneliness (though I bet in truth, the boy in this shot was having a blast as the subject of his parents affection in this photoshoot).
Oceans: this song is about surfing, but its also a personal song and I can almost feel the relationship the person in the car has with the ocean around him. It’s the vast scale of this shot that made me choose it.
Porch: another violent song, though this time, maybe not physical violence, the sort that occurs between a couple once in love with only days to go before they call it quits.
Garden: an impenetrable song with impenetrable lyrics. I choose this picture as it feels like the song feels to listen to (ah yup, and it’s of a garden).
Deep: a drug song. The lyrics tell of a person looking from a window as they destroy themselves and this image feels like reality slipping away.
Release: the last song on the album and a glimmer of hope for the protagonists of the songs as they perhaps find release from their torments.
Next month: Electronica picks up guitars in Depeche Mode’s Violator.
Don’t forget to private message me with your suggestions for photographs for the songs!
Photos by the community, words by Adam Griffiths. Originally from the United Kingdom, Adam now lives in Auckland New Zealand. Stay tuned for more Classic Albums in Lomographs!