12. Ten - Pearl Jam
Out of all the bands to come out of the grunge movement, Pearl Jam seemed to be the one most in tune with the hard rock of old. While Nirvana's Nevermind may have been the initial breakthrough for the alternative sound, Pearl Jam's Ten was what launched the genre into the cultural force it is now.
The beauty about this album was its perfect blend of old rock tendencies under a new aesthetic. The entire record had all the trappings of a normal grunge outfit, down to the introspective lyrics and the depressing subject matters, but there was also an air about these riffs that made them hauntingly familiar. They may have been new for the time, but each of these riffs seem to be direct descendents of the greatest rock and roll ever made, from the Who to Led Zeppelin to even Aerosmith.
Instead of the typical party lyrics, each of these tracks deals with more serious subject matters, from the broken family in the middle of "Alive" to the breakup of "Black" to the teen suicide of "Jeremy." The record may not be the most high-spirited record you've ever heard, but every one of these tunes will have you feeling the emotion all the way through.