I remember getting the tape version of No Code as a gift from my mother. I thought "What the hell is this?". It had such a weird booklet and all.
Of course I had heard some of their songs in the past, but I didn't know who they were back in the day. I put the tape in my walkman one day when everything was going the wrong way in my life. I needed something to escape.
I immediately got hooked on Eddie Vedder's strange voice in "Sometimes" and then, when "Hail, Hail" kicked in, I thought "Wow, this band can rock pretty hard.". But there was something more to it. There was some sort of strange wisdom in the music. It appeased my troubled mind. The lyrics of the whole album were really inspiring and I began to pay more and more attention to them as the songs came to my ears.
When "Present tense" began to play, it really spoke to me and I felt like it was almost guiding me, helping me with what I was going through at the time.
"I'm open" also got me real good. This song is really special in its own way.
I was lucky enough to have a bunch of albums preceding No Code to listen to, so I got all of them in a hurry. By the time Yield came out, I was a gigantic Pearl Jam fan and I've been one ever since. They have kinda been really close friends to me, even though I never met the guys. This is how powerful they are as a band, and I think I know exactly how my dad felt with bands such as Pink Floyd back when he was a teen too. There's this borderless connection between us and the music we love that we can't really explain with words.
They were there with me through the tougher ( and also happier ) times in my teenage years. Some songs remind me of really good memories. Whenever I want to relive them, I just hit the play button.