Pearl Jam
rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003)



by mranti USER (21 Reviews)
June 13th, 2005 | 32 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Emerging from the Seattle grunge base, Pearl Jam formed amongst tragedy. Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were in Green River before working with ex-Malfunkshun member Andrew Wood on Mother Love Bone, which released one major album due to Andrew's untimely passing as the result of a heroin overdose. To pay tribute to his longtime friend, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and later of Audioslave brought together Stone and Jeff with a talented guitarist named Mike McCready to form Temple of the Dog. With Matt Cameron, drummer of Soundgarden, Eddie Vedder was pulled in to accompany Chris on vocals. The sales of the Temple of the Dog project, the name of which was taken from the Mother Love Bone track titled "Man Of Golden Words", did not initially sell much outside of Washington considering the members weren’t yet household names. Since the album was only meant to pay homage to their fallen friend, Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron returned to Soundgarden to record "Badmotorfinger" where the rest of the band recruited Dave Krusen on drums to form what would later be called Pearl Jam. Coincidently, both "Badmotorfinger" and Pearl Jam's debut "Ten" dominated the Billboard charts making audiences around the world hungry for whatever else these two bands have been up to. After a video for "Hunger Strike" was released, and some Temple of the Dog performances, the book was closed with both bands stating that the album served its purpose. In 1994, Mike McCready collaborated on a new project with Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley titled Mad Season, but the 2002 death of Layne Staley finalized the demise of both Mad Season and Alice In Chains. In the mid-late 1990's, Soundgarden dismembered, leading Matt Cameron to then drum for Pearl Jam and Chris to join with ex-Rage Against The Machine members to form Audioslave. Pearl Jam, however, still releases albums to date that neither produce videos or much promotion in general due to their discontentment with mainstream restrictions.

As a first-time listener to Pearl Jam, their greatest hits compilation is a goldmine to explore who they are and why two discs barely cover their career spanning from 1991 to 2003. Comprising of 33 tracks, an interesting booklet featuring several pictures of the band, and an 'Up Side' and a 'Down Side' where the first of which contains the heavier and more fast tempo songs and where the latter features the broody and often acoustic side of the band. A previous fan of the band will definitely appreciate the gems that never were presented on any of their seven studio albums from this era, including a studio version of "State of Love and Trust", which was included on the "Singles" soundtrack, and "Yellow Ledbettter", which was released on their 2-Disc rarities album "Lost Dogs" a year before and on their "Jeremy" single back in 1992. Also included is "I Got ID" from the "Merkinball" EP that is a spawn from "Mirrorball", which is a Neil Young album featuring the members of Pearl Jam. Also included is "Breath", which has become a concert favorite, "Man of the Hour" which was written for the "Big Fish" soundtrack, and "Last Kiss", which became a hugely popular cover of the 60's tune by J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers. Yet, if that wasn’t enough, long-time producer/collaborator Brendan O'Brien remixed "Once", "Alive", and "Black", giving them a bit of a dynamic emphasized sound. Although there are still tons of Pearl Jam tracks strewn about that have yet to be put together in one place, the most renowned and critically essential tracks have been included in this greatest hits collection, or at least enough for it not to be confused with the "Lost Dogs" collection.

As most long-time fans would argue, the greatest hits collections never seem to grasp all of the favorites, but Pearl Jam's "rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003)" does about as good as any could hope for. One grievance being is that 20 of the 33 tracks hail exclusively from Pearl Jam's debut to their 3rd full length studio album, leaving 2000's "Binaural" and 2002's "Riot Act" grossly unrepresented with only two songs from each. "Thumbing My Way" and "Slight Of Hand" prove to be more worthy of a spot than "Who You Are" or "Wishlist". On a positive note, each of Pearl Jam's seven LPs are distinguished between them by tracks that seem to represent the general feel of each album, so chances are if you like the song you’ll dig the entire album it came from just the same. On the first disc, tracks 1-4 are taken from "Ten", 6-9 are from "Vs.", 10-12 are from "Vitalogy", 14 is from "No Code", 15 is from "Yield", and 16 is from "Riot Act". On the second disc, track 1 is from "Ten", 3-4 are from "Vs.", 5-7 are from "Vitalogy", 8-9 are from "No Code", 10-11 are from "Yield", 13-14 are from "Binaural", and 15 is from "Riot Act", leaving all unlisted tracks from the aforementioned mentioned places. Since the album progresses with each disc chronologically, how the band has changed over the years is presented in almost a new and obvious light.

Pearl Jam is one of the essential rock acts emerging from the 90's, let alone giving bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones a threatening run for their money. Selling more copies than Nirvana's "Nevermind", Pearl Jam's debut album "Ten" belongs in every collection from the scarcely enthused to the most avid musically interested fan. Their touch has not a bit been deteriorated, evident as album after album takes a diverse and creative leap forward. As a compilation, "rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003)" has its minor flaws, but as a band, Pearl Jam grows better with each and every listen proclaiming an A-class band through and through.

Personal Note- Being a relatively long-time fan of the band, I wore out each and every one of Pearl Jam’s albums and still found their greatest hits to be a treat. For anyone not too familiar with the band, which is understandable considering they're media shy these days, a double disc collection for only $15 is well worth the gamble. I definitely recommend this album as an introduction to the band, or maybe to widen your knowledge if you only have a couple albums of theirs.

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user ratings (364)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 3rd 2005


Looks like you covered all the bases. I just picked this up. Like you said, I have TEN, and want to widen my experience with PJ. For the price....this is the way to go!

August 3rd 2005


I've been a Pearl Jam fan all my life (I was born in 91, it's possible) and this is definitely a good collaboration when it comes to greatest hits albums.

August 28th 2005


I heard about Pearl Jam from my guitar teacher, and I have five of there Cd's. They are one of my favorite bands now. S, I rate them a 5.
This Message Edited On 08.28.05

September 23rd 2005


thats alot of pearl jam. i love itThis Message Edited On 09.23.05

October 9th 2005


I had never really been into Pearl Jam before I got this album. I was blown away by how awesome and rockin the first CD was, and how relaxing the second CD was. IMO, 5/5.

Scott Herren
October 9th 2005


There are some notable omissions like Smile and In My Tree, but this looks like a great compilation.

Leper Affinity
October 9th 2005


I'm only familiar with old Pearl Jam (which I love) but this seems to have plenty of old stuff on it. That excites me. I guess since I already have their first three albums there's no point in me getting this, but great review anyway.

December 16th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review . Pearl Jam deserve more time in the spotlight, they are i think a great act. Unfortunately the only songs i have heard are Last Kiss and Go, but i will still comment this album on behalf of these tracks. 3.5/5

Two-Headed Boy
February 14th 2006


I'm going to do a Pearl Jam review this weekend. Either Riot Act, Live in Seattle or Lost Dogs. Anyway, this is a perfect example of what a compilation should be.

February 20th 2006


all the songs are awsome, but all of Pearl Jam's albums are worth looking into, for casual fans only

February 25th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome collection of songs, each one is great. My favorites on this one are "I Got Id" and "State of Love & Trust"

February 27th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I really liked the second disc more than the first. I like the softer side of Pearl Jam more. The review made me want to get the album and I did.

April 17th 2006


yellow ledbetter is my favorite pearl jam song (from what ive heard so far) it reminds of little wing by jimi hendrix (i thinks its little wing if not its some hendrix song)

April 17th 2006


Yeah, the guitarists cop a lot of technique from Hendrix on that song, it's meant to be something of a tribute.
State Of Love And Trust is great, it's been my favourite ever since I heard it years ago on the Singles OST...
Oddly enough, my favourite PJ album is Yield, which most fans seem to dismiss.
Great band, anyway. Great review too.

April 24th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Its truly one of the best alternative bands of all times...classics like alive,even flow etc. will live forever.m/

April 24th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Its truly one of the best alternative bands of all times...classics like alive,even flow etc. will live forever.m/

May 9th 2006


i htink this album was great and would suggest it for people who havent even heard them beforelast kiss is a classic and something for all of us

May 20th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

This is a very good album.although two of my favourite p.j. songs are missing."porch" from ten and the beautiful "all those yestrdays" from YieldThis Message Edited On 05.20.06

June 3rd 2006


One of the better compilations I have

August 5th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, this will have to be the best greatest hits album i own. I should've bought this along time ago. I cant think of one song on either disc that i didnt like.

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