on November 19, 2004
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.)
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!
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.
on December 19, 2004
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.
on November 20, 2004
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.
on February 16, 2007
I bought this 2CD set upon its release in December 2004 because I had wanted to collect Pearl Jam songs I'd liked back in the 1990's, and up to that point, I owned none of their music. Many of the hits on here weren't played on the radio stations I was listening to at the time, so a lot of this music was new to me. I'm rating this 4 stars because it is a well-compiled collection of 33 songs that should appeal to non-core fans like myself who don't own all of Pearl Jam's studio albums, but who like many of their songs. Pearl Jam is a great rock band, they write intelligent lyrical songs, and the guitar, bass and drum players create thunderous power on many of their strong songs.
Best songs in my opinion: Immortality, I Got ID, Given To Fly, Not For You, I Am Mine, Even Flow, Once, and especially the awesome song Jeremy - one of the most powerful songs of the decade and despite its chilling subject matter, my favourite song of theirs .
on March 22, 2005
Grunge is not dead. Pearl Jam has outdone themselves again! "rearviewmirror" from Pearl Jam tops the list when it comes to greatest hit colections. Normally when you think of greatest hits you think of all the radio hits you can't stand to even hear one more time, but Pearl Jam has remixed some familiar tracks and reintroduced some tracks unknown to many, but much loved by die hard Pj fans. I was anxiously awaiting this release, hoping to not be disappointed, and not only was I not disappointed, but i haven't taken this cd out of my stereo yet. It covers all of the radio hits for a generic audience, but also manages to seduce already smitten fans with new remixes of songs like "Black" and "Alive." One thing I enjoyed with the experience of relearning Pearl Jam was the fact the disc one is more hardcore, for times when i need a litte pump,and disc two slows down the tempo with more mellow tracks. That's great for a girl like me who may have more moods than hours in a day. Fortunately for me, Eddie Vedder and crew can always make me feel better. Listening to a complex album like "rearviewmirrow" somehow sets me adrift and makes makes me feel that my life is not so complex. The best part of all- you can take this trip for less than a 20.00
on November 16, 2004
For a period of three years (1992-95), Pearl Jam was the biggest rock band in the world. Nowadays, their albums have trouble breaking the 500,000 sales mark ("Ten" sold over nine million). This was more because of a shift in mainstream tastes than any degradation in the band's quality of music. It's true that Pearl Jam largely abandoned the power rock that made them rock demi-gods and MTV darlings, but they continued to make great music. Of their four post-"Vitalogy" albums, I give all but one a solid recommendation (the exception being the muddled "Binaural"). Rather, it was that the average American person stopped listening to great music, in favor of whatever MTV told them was cool. Just look at last week's Billboard Top 200 albums, and tell me how many of those bands will be remembered fondly in ten years. "Rearviewmirror" chronicles Pearl Jam's journey from superstars to a beloved cult band largely in the way that last year's "Lost Dogs" did, but unlike "Lost Dogs" it mostly covers their radio hits.
Because "Rearviewmirror" is supposed to be a "Greatest Hits" and not "Best of", I have little complaints about the track listing. Every single one of these songs is great, and worthy of inclusion; most of them you've heard on the radio before. I was going to type a list of my favorite tracks on the album, but it would simply be too difficult to do. I will say that I'm delighted at the addition of such oddball choices as "Rearviewmirror", "Breath", and "Nothingman" (none of those were very big hits, except with Pearl Jam's hardcore base). It shows that even on their "Greatest Hits" album, Pearl Jam could not help but include some odd choices. I have some minor complaints- I don't like how both discs are in chronological order (exempting "Yellow Ledbetter", of course), and I think "Binaural" and "Riot Act" are virtually ignored. However, once again, these are supposed to be their greatest hits and not a definitive best-of collection. I think it's awesome that Pearl Jam divides the album into a heavy disc and a soft one, much like they did with "Lost Dogs".
"Rearviewmirror" is a perfect album to buy for new Pearl Jam fans (they're probably not that many of them). If you're a hardcore one like myself, you probably own most of these tracks, so the only reason to buy this album would be to add to your collection. However, this is an awesome history of one of the world's greatest bands. If anyone out there thinks that mainstream music sucks today, they should give their old reliable favorites another spin.
on November 16, 2004
When I first heard that Pearl Jam decided to leave Epic records after their Riot Act album (their most recent studio album, released in 2002), I knew Epic would squeeze them by putting together a greatest hits album. To be totally honest I was not anticipating this release. I am an avid Pearl Jam fan and own every studio album plus 6 live performances and all 4 dvd's. I was further hesitant a few weeks ago when I saw the track listings. And to be sure, there were several omissions on this greatest hits. "Oceans" and "Red Mosquito" in particular. But being the dedicated fan that I am, I went out on the release day and bought the album. I must say that I was impressed. The re-mixes of the old grunge-era songs are fantastic. "Even Flow" in particular has a whole new feel to it. And dedicated fans should rest assured because long time and current PJ producer Brendan O'Brien did the mixing himself. The first side features more hard rock while the second side is the softer PJ. It would be nice if this record could work to re-familiarize the band to middle America. Fans on the East and West coasts know how great Pearl Jam still is, but the middle portion of the country seems to have forgotten that the band is perhaps as good today as they've ever been--both instrumentally and creatively. This is an absolute must have for any fan of rock music. And fans shouldn't have to wait long, Pearl Jam is rumored to be headed back to the studio before the new year.
on April 29, 2006
I guarantee you will net regret buying this best of. The only problem is that it doesn't have any of the newest songs on it. Pearl Jam has so many amazing songs on this compilation and so many more. For those of you who haven't heard very much PJ, buy this and you will be hooked for life.
on December 11, 2004
Well it's around christmas time and everyone is out looking for that special gift for that special someone. Well, if that special someone is a Pearl Jam fan, than Rearview Mirror is not a bad idea overall. This greatest hits album has impressed me...alot. I very surprised to see how well constructed this album is. It includes all the obvious hits like "Evenflow", "Jeremy", "Alive", "Go", "Daughter", "Betterman","Corduroy" and fittingly as the last track on the entire album, "Yellow Ledbetter" as well as some of the more recent fan favorites like "Light Years", "Nothing As It Seems", "Save You", and "I Am Mine". So the album itself does an excellent job of giving the band's work fair representation. On top of theat the album is seperated into an "Upside" and a "Downside" meaning all the hard rockers are on the first disc with the ballads on the second while being organized in chronological order. This organization scheme is ingenious. Although there are some tracks like "Love Boat Captain", "Tremor Christ" and "Thumbing My Way" that could have been included. But who knows, maybe there was a strict limit of 33 tracks. Whether that's the case or not, Pearl Jam will be leaving Epic Records with their heads held high. As this album shows, they've had an excellent career and I look forward to their new album which should be coming out in 2005. And for those of you who despise the "Greatest Hits" idea, this album is actually the final contract obligation that Pearl Jam had to meet to break away from their record company. So that makes it even better. In short, this is definitely a great gift idea for any Pearl Jam fan and the band should be commended for creating the best greatest hits compilation possible.