26 Mar 2009

Ten – Redux

Partly because it’s my favourite album and partly due to the fact that, the new remixes make each song sound different in ways that are so subtle – I’m deciding if these or the originals sound ‘better’.

A recent re-release of REM’s Murmur, raised the issue of which version would stand the test of time with their fans. And indeed, if the remastered disc sounded TOO clean and crisp, removing the ethereal quality from what was essentially the 1st ‘college rock’ album to break mainstream.

There’s no point in me reviewing Ten Redux as it wouldn’t be that unbiased an opinion, but suffice to say, the most well known tracks off Ten (Jeremy / Alive) do sound new in interesting ways. Alive has possibly a more rounded feel overall, less like a band jam and more a ‘studio cut’. This isn’t necessarily a minus point however as Eddie’s vocals (and especially the drums – as with most of the other tracks) stand out spectacularly well on these versions.

Jeremy - possibly the most played single off the album back in 1992, feels like a new track here, the mix bringing McCready’s guitar to the front more obviously. While Once, Why Go, and Porch also have a new punch underlying their rhythm sections, all the while keeping the familiarity of the songs intact.

The £100 deluxe set would’ve been nice, but the CD/DVD – with the extra tracks from the early recording sessions and full MTV Unplugged show released for the first time, in 5.1 (albeit in the same order as first broadcast with the Jeremy encore still in the middle for some reason) is a nice little package that includes a hardback booklet. And I also have the vinyl on order, which still only takes the whole lot to half the price of the deluxe set.

Any of these are well worth a purchase. As, regardless of those people who would harp on about Nevermind being the definitive example of the Seattle sound in the early to mid nineties, Ten was a paradigm. A milestone album that caught the energy of a band just starting what would become one of the longest careers of all their cohorts and contemporaries.