In an era when pop nihilism fulfilled its dark promise all too regularly, Pearl Jam not only survived, but thrived to become one of rock's greatest bands. This 33-track double-disc career retrospective documents the arc of... more » a career that went from arena and radio triumphs in the early 90's (while Nirvana's promise imploded in the wake of hype, Pearl Jam's crowd-pleasing fame only burgeoned) to the uncompromising, core audience-focused tack that carried the band into the 21st century. Shrewdly compiled by the band into an "Up" disc that chronicles the band's driving, Stone Gossard-Mike McCready fueled hard rock dramatics (including such early career landmarks as "Jeremy," "Alive" and "Even Flow" alongside more aggressive fare like "Go" and "Spin the Black Circle") and a "Down" side that focuses more on Eddie Vedder's brooding, often dark ballads ("Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town," "Yellow Ledbetter," their unlikely hit cover of the oldie "Last Kiss"), it's a collection that underscores both the band's range and musical integrity. Though centered largely on the band's pre-Vitalogy studio era and containing no new material, longtime producer/collaborator Brendan O'Brien contributes remixes of "Once," "Alive" and "Black" that offer new insights on the familiar, while non-album tracks like "Man of the Hour" and "State of Love and Trust" considerably enhance the overall listening perspective here. --Jerry McCulley« less
In an era when pop nihilism fulfilled its dark promise all too regularly, Pearl Jam not only survived, but thrived to become one of rock's greatest bands. This 33-track double-disc career retrospective documents the arc of a career that went from arena and radio triumphs in the early 90's (while Nirvana's promise imploded in the wake of hype, Pearl Jam's crowd-pleasing fame only burgeoned) to the uncompromising, core audience-focused tack that carried the band into the 21st century. Shrewdly compiled by the band into an "Up" disc that chronicles the band's driving, Stone Gossard-Mike McCready fueled hard rock dramatics (including such early career landmarks as "Jeremy," "Alive" and "Even Flow" alongside more aggressive fare like "Go" and "Spin the Black Circle") and a "Down" side that focuses more on Eddie Vedder's brooding, often dark ballads ("Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town," "Yellow Ledbetter," their unlikely hit cover of the oldie "Last Kiss"), it's a collection that underscores both the band's range and musical integrity. Though centered largely on the band's pre-Vitalogy studio era and containing no new material, longtime producer/collaborator Brendan O'Brien contributes remixes of "Once," "Alive" and "Black" that offer new insights on the familiar, while non-album tracks like "Man of the Hour" and "State of Love and Trust" considerably enhance the overall listening perspective here. --Jerry McCulley
Kimberly B. from ODENTON, MD Reviewed on 5/24/2011...
All the classic Pearl Jam tunes in one CD.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michelle S. (Chelly10s) from W HOLLYWOOD, CA Reviewed on 3/23/2009...
Absolutely amazing CD. Mind-melting lyrics, matched with incredible vocals and melodies...if you are going to be stranded on an island and can only have one CD and a CD player...take this one!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michael F. from BURKE, VA Reviewed on 3/6/2007...
0 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Basically what it claims to be
J. N. Mohlman | Barrington, RI USA | 11/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The trouble with best of compilations is that they can never quite satisfy everyone. Devoted fans are usually disappointed because some of the more obscure favorites inevitably don't make the album. Conversely, the casual fan is often left puzzled by "greatest hits" they've never even heard of. More often than not, it the serious fan who is left wanting, because as a general rule, these things aren't made for the serious fan, as they already own all the songs on the compilation. In the case of "rearviewmirror" this dynamic is rather exacerbated by the fact that it is being produced by Epic, which owns these masters, but no longer has a contract with the band. So, while I don't think Pearl Jam is upset by this release, neither has it received the attention that the incredible "Lost Dogs" did just a year ago.
Actually, to the band's credit, they haven't thrown on one or two new songs for the sole purpose of selling the compilation to their core audience. So there is nothing on these two discs that you can't find elsewhere; even the relatively obscure "Man of the Hour" is available as a single. Plus, the arrangement is nice with the more up tempo songs on Disc 1 and slower ones on Disc 2. There are some that could go either way (like "Breath"), but all in all this set-up makes for a listening experience that feels new. Which brings me to my first point, the package promises re-mixed versions of "Once", "Black" and "Jeremy", but don't get your hopes up. These are re-mixes, not re-recordings, so if you were looking for new arrangements, you're out of luck. Actually, the differences are hardly worth mentioning; I'm by no means an expert, but all I noticed were slightly stronger percussions, with Ed's voice being somewhat more prominent in spots.
So what's good and what's bad? Well, I'm going to try not to be a snob, but there are a few noticeable oversights. I'm sure they didn't want to overload on songs from "Ten", but "Porch" is rather glaring in its absence. Alternately, "Once" in the place of "Porch" might have made sense if "Footsteps" had been included, which is a fairly well known b-side, and which would have also completed the "Mamasan" trilogy with "Alive". From "Vs." "Dissident" seemed like an odd choice as "Blood", "Glorified G" and "Leash" are all absent. However, given the popularity of the eponymous bootleg from the mid-90's, I suppose this shouldn't come as a surprise.
"Vitalogy" is well represented; in particular I was thrilled to see that "Immortality" was included as it is one of Pearl Jam's best songs and is sorely underappreciated by radio. Personally, I would have left off "Nothingman" in order to make room for other songs, but it's a good tune in and of itself, so that's not much of a complaint. As well represented as "Vitalogy" is, I found "No Code" to be grossly underappreciated. While "Hail, Hail", "Who You Are" and "Off He Goes" are to be found, the absence of "In My Tree" is just terrible. Likewise, "Habit" and "Present Tense" at the least should have made it on.
With "Yield" it's the same story, while "Do The Evolution" and "Given to Fly" are eminently deserving of being included, I could take or leave "Wishlist", and "Faithfull", "Low Light" and "In Hiding" all would have been better choices. "Binaural" didn't really have any breakout hits, so it's hard to argue with only including "Nothing as it Seems" and "Light Years", but it would have been nice to see "Insignificance" or "Breakerfall" on Disc 1. The same is true of "Riot Act" although I think "Can't Keep" and particularly "Thumbing My Way" would have been great choices for inclusion.
"State of Love and Trust", "Breath" and "Man of the Hour" are all outstanding non-album contributions and definitely add to the set. The same goes for "I Got Id"; over the years the "Merkinball" single has fallen off the radar, but it was huge at the time. And finally, while I think most of us have grown a little weary of "Last Kiss" over the years, it's hard to argue with its inclusion given the phenomenon it turned into.
One puzzling aspect of this set is that for a band that has made its name playing live, there are no live performances on "rearviewmirror". I can understand why Epic wouldn't have wanted to include a completely different sounding version (i.e. "Jeremy" from Red Rocks) but any number of live versions of "Even Flow" or "Do The Evolution" would have been a real treat for the casual fan.
So, in the end, what is "rearviewmirror"? Well, it's basically what it claims to be, a "best of"; there are oversights, but generally speaking this is a fairly thorough set. While diehard fans (like myself) may bemoan the absence of certain songs, for less than twenty dollars, it's hard to argue with 33 tracks on two discs. And for the fan who loved the band early and lost track of them over the years, this is a great buy. Not only does it reintroduce old favorites, but it offers a smorgasbord of Pearl Jam's newer stuff. In addition, the fast/slow arrangement makes this a good buy even for the hardcore fan, because, as I said before, it creates a new listening experience and saves you from fiddling with discs in the car if you just want to tear through some of your favorites.
Jake Mohlman "
Life beyond "Alive"
Music Enthusiast | Glendale, CA | 11/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love all of these reviews which seem to be testimonials as to the degree of one's loyalty to the band. There is a lot of passion in the Pearl Jam fanbase and a lot of discussion around whether such an album should exist. I think this album is great. Here is my review...
Here is the distribution of songs by album... Ten(5), Vs.(6), Vitalogy(6), No Code(3), Yield(3), Binaural(2), Riot Act(2), From singles-not on an album (3), From movie soundtracks (3).
SONGS THAT WERE (RADIO) HITS NOT INCLUDED
Glorified G (Vs.) Rats (Vs.) Tremor Christ (Vitalogy) Smile (No Code) In Hiding (Yield)
SONGS I AS A FAN WISHED WERE INCLUDED IN ADDITION TO EXCLUDED RADIO HITS
In My Tree (No Code)
VERSIONS DIFFERENT THAN ON THE ALBUM
Once, Alive and Black come with an asterisk stating they were remixed by Brendan O'Brian. I found them to be clearer and slightly more raw sounding. Like the difference between the Lost Dogs version of "Alone" as compared to the B-side version. Very slight difference from the original in my opinion. Some of the alteration in Lost Dogs versions of songs were drastic as compared to this.
Evenflow is an entirely different take. Another reviewer said it was the music video version. This is not a re-mix, an entirely different recording. Sounds live from a studio. Similar in recording style to Zeppelin's "I can't quit you" from the Coda album.
State of Love and Trust is the most radically changed song. Delay added to the backup vocals, echo added to the guitar solos, vocals more pronounced and forward, mixed louder and clearer. In my opinion, long needed change. The singles soundtrack recordings were not good recordings and this clears it up.
Breath was mixed louder and clearer as it was lower and muddier on the original.
Yellow Ledbetter was cut short on the final note in Lost Dogs. Fixed on this album.
Very good and consistent. The risk you run with a 13 year span of hits put on an album is having hiss on some songs, not others, different recording levels, etc. This doesn't occur on this collection.
OPINION AND OBSERVATIONS
I think this is a perfect collection. The distribution follows radio hits from the earlier albums, and contains what were released as singles from the later albums. Collectors get cleaned up and some different versions. Casual fans get 30+ great tracks. People who bought Ten and Vs. and then lost interest get to see great things Pearl Jam has done since and may want to get reacquainted. Separating hard rock (disk 1) and softer (disk 2) is good for parties, moods, etc. Put it in and play!
A great companion to this is "Lost Dogs". Fame freaked out the bandmembers and in later years, they decided to manage it by not putting catchy hooks in some songs, excluding songs that were obvious hits, not doing videos, keeping out of the news, etc. Lost Dogs has some of these songs. For example, if "Sad" would have been included in Binaural originally, I bet it would have been included as one of the greatest of hits on this album now. Lost Dogs also has B-sides, Xmas singles, soundtrack songs, and a bone chilling tribute to the late Layne Staley.
The thing "tweaking" me right now is when a song is over, I start playing the next one, from the original album, in my head, but an entirely different song plays instead. I'll survive. Enjoy this one!"
As good as it's going to get!
Michael J. Tuccio | Fredonia, NY United States | 11/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pearl Jam is a band who, although they started out selling millions of discs, has survived as a result of their dedicated fans. A lot of their fans will certainly have problems with this compilation because it doesn't carry their personal favorites. That's always going to be a concern when it comes to bands who aren't simply "hit single-formula based." However, most bands put out greatest hits discs, and with that in mind, this is an outstanding collection! All of the big hits are here, as well as "Yellow Ledbetter," which every diehard knows. It also carries the two tracks they did for the movie "Singles," way back in 1992. Those songs, "Breath" and "State of Love and Trust," are excellent. I also like how both discs are in chronological order, with the harder stuff on disc one, the less-hard, but definitely not soft songs, on disc 2. This is a wonderful place for people who don't own any of the full-length CDs to start, and it should satisfy those of us who have been following this terrific group since 1991."
AS A HUGE PJ FAN - I AGREE WITH THIS COMPILATION HITS HIGHLY
Pearl Jams lion | Miami | 11/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many Pearl Jam fans on message boards & such have claimed they're not getting the greatest hits for reasons such as
1) We already have the songs
2) There's nothing new, not even lyrics, only pictures of the band
- So I'll explain why the PJ fans more aware of their music should purchase it first
- First I'd like to address these subjects by saying.. You DON'T have the songs - There are remastered versions of 'Once', 'Alive', & 'Black'... the most noticable change in 'Black', as well as altered versions of 'State of Love & Trust,' & 'Do the Evolution', & 'Who You Are' - & 'Even Flow' is the RADIO version, the MUSIC VIDEO version, NOT the 'Ten' album version -
- 2ndly, even if there isn't a more interesting insert like there is on 'Lost Dogs', the pictures are still very cool & the whole package is nice... but the fact the some of the songs have been altered, aswell as it being the 1st greatest hits album, why do you have to be convinced to buy it? -
Now to explain why 'Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 91-03) is perfect -
Many Pearl Jam fans have been discussing whether this was going to be 1 cd, or 2cds, when we got the news long time ago that there was going to be a best-of cd released... & we all knew it couldn't of rightfully been 1 cd... so the fact they DID release 2 cd's (for the price of one album) is great right there -
There are many songs on here that I was very surprised to see make the list... 'Off He Goes'? seriously, did ANY Pearl Jam fan expect songs such as 'Off He Goes', 'Who You Are', 'Nothing As it Seems', 'Man of the Hour', 'Nothingman', etc.. to make the greatest hits album?
I approve of this so much, because during this album, new fans to Pearl Jam will hear everything from their most accessible songs, to some of their more hard to get into songs, such as the songs I listed above - This inspires new, & returning Pearl Jam fans to listen to songs such as 'Light Years', & 'I Am Mine' to pick up their latter albums... 'Rearviewmirror' has enough influenced to cause the casual PJ fan to pick up all their studio albums... which I couldn't be happier about
However, only 12 of the songs on here are post-Vitalogy songs... but I understand that completely, they are not implying that PJ has declined over the years.. what it is implying, is that PJ has gone into depths of experimentation with rock n roll which isn't accessible enough to be a 'hit', which is what I prefer..
The songs on here are designed to keep the casual, or new, or returning PJ fan listening to it, but also the 12 songs that are post-Vitalogy are squeezed in in such a way that it will, like I wrote above.. influence them to look into buying latter PJ albums
This is why 'Rearviewmirror' is a perfect compilation - I've been a hardcore Pearl Jam fan for years, & they've been my fav. band of all time for years... I was dreading the release of this greatest hits, worried that there would be too many songs left off... I can honestly say I'm completely satisfied, & approve of it as much as possible, it's perfect for everyone... new PJ fans, or hardcore PJ fans that want to hear remastered versions
- Take it from a hardcore Pj fan -... Every PJ fan reading this, or to-be PJ fan reading this... or huge PJ fan reading this - No matter who you are.... you need to have this album
Pearl Jam - best band in the world... Now has the best-of album more accurate than any other best-of album in the world"
Don't complain. Please.
eyit | WI | 12/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, this album is an excellent compilation that shows both the power and sentience of one of the greatest American rock bands. If you like Pearl Jam in any way, shape or form, I highly recommend this album. It is a must have...that is unless you own 20 PJ cds already.
But anyway, why would anyone complain about a greatest hits album that has all the greatest hits? There are many great songs that are not on this album but does that mean that the songs that are on it don't deserve to be? Absolutely not. Not every one is a die-hard Pearl Jam fan. This album is for them; the people that don't (yet) already own every studio album and a few bootlegs.
To the die-hard; Isn't it enough that almost every live Pearl Jam concert from the past four years has been made available for purchase? What is there to complain about? If you already own every studio album and more, why even bother with this one, and why rate it less for not having "Untitled" from Live on Two Legs? That song is not a hit. And if you miss it from this cd, you probably already have it on 20 bootlegs!! Give me a break. And please don't discredit the band for not giving the finger to the general public. That's just rediculous.