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Pearl Jam

Rearviewmirror: The Best Of Pearl Jam (November 2004)


Track listing:

Up side
  1. Once *
  2. Alive *
  3. Even Flow
  4. Jeremy
  5. State Of Love And Trust
  6. Animal
  7. Go
  8. Dissident
  9. Rearviewmirror
  10. Spin The Black Circle
  11. Corduroy
  12. Not For You
  13. I Got ID
  14. Hail Hail
  15. Do The Evolution
  16. Save You
Down side
  1. Black *
  2. Breath
  3. Daughter
  4. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
  5. Immortality
  6. Betterman
  7. Nothingman
  8. Who You Are
  9. Off He Goes
  10. Given To Fly
  11. Wishlist
  12. Last Kiss
  13. Nothing As It Seems
  14. Light Years
  15. I Am Mine
  16. Man Of The Hour
  17. Yellow Ledbetter
* Remixed by Brendan O'Brien

After thirteen years in the industry, Pearl Jam have released a 2-disc, greatest hits album. The compilation is named Rearviewmirror, also the title of a song (which features on disc 1 here) from their second album, Vs. The name evokes the retrospective nature of the compilation, which spans their career but gives much more weight to their earlier, commercially more successful music.

The album contains 2 discs, the first of which showcases Pearl Jam's "up side", or hard rockers, the second being the "down side", the lower-key ballads. The tracks are ordered chronologically on each disc, allowing the listener to take in the band's musical progression over the years. The "up side" disc shows how Pearl Jam evolved from a hook and solo-driven, 70s style classic rock band (evident on songs like "Once" and "Even Flow"), to more of a punk or garage band (exemplified by the last track, "Save You"). On the "down side" disc you can hear the band's attempts to widen their musical boundaries with the incorporation of eastern sounds, and also how the lyrical content has become more mature and philosophical over the years.

Rearviewmirror does not contain any new material, but it is a fantastic mix of Pearl Jam favourites. Three of the tracks from Ten ("Once", "Alive" and "Black") have been remixed by Brendan O'Brien, who started working with Pearl Jam for Vs. These tracks are noticeably edgier now, and really seem to benefit from the work on them.

There are a couple of other points of interest. The version of "Even Flow" is not the one on Ten, but the version the band recorded with Dave Abbruzzese on drums and released for the single instead. Two tracks, "State Of Love And Trust" and "Breath", are on the soundtrack for the movie Singles, and "Man Of The Hour" is on the soundtrack for the movie Big Fish. The last track on disc 2 is "Yellow Ledbetter", an early B-side which has always been popular with the Pearl Jam fans.

Rearviewmirror is a great compilation for people who have always liked the occasional Pearl Jam song, but never enough to buy one of their albums. For the Pearl Jam fanatic with every album and single in his collection, there isn't much on offer here that they don't already have, except for the remixed tracks. Are they worth it? They were for me, as I can now listen to these classics with renewed interest, but the essence of each song is exactly as it was thirteen years ago. All in all, I'm glad I bought my copy, and have been playing it more than expected.

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