Pearl Jam reviews: Judged, found wanting

Mike Barthel at Idolator analyzed the music blog reviews of the deluxely-reissued Ten, and he didn’t like what he read, heaping scorn on Pitchfork’s dismissive 6.7 and the revisionism of other critics.

…About five years ago, I purchased it on a whim and blared it from a cheap boombox in the kitchen, and it sounded great. I wouldn’t say it sounded good, necessarily, but that was never the point of Ten. It wasn’t supposed to be something of quality, but something of feeling, something that made you feel like NOBODY GETS YOU and THE WORLD IS HARD and WHY DOESN’T ANYONE LOVE ME. And these things are stupid and adolescent, yes, but they’re feelings a lot of us still have, at least if Tumblr is anything to go by. Ten is, and was, ridiculous, but it is also true, and we critics, and indie-rock listeners in general, increasingly seem to have a hard time understanding how those two things could go together.

As someone who was in college during the early 90s, I completely understand the sentiment. We all want to say we had every single Pavement album up to that point and eschewed “corporate rock” like Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots, but the truth is we spent the summer of ’94 with “Interstate Love Song” blasting out of our car stereos while only knowing Pavement for that “Cut Your Hair” song the local “alternative” station played in between triple shots of Nirvana. That’s something our personal revisionism can’t wipe away as much as we want to insist that we saw Dinosaur Jr at some 50-seat club despite 3000 people claiming the same thing.

Go read the article — and the comments, which are equal parts thoughtful discussion and indie-rock poseurdom.

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