Rearviewmirror: Greatest Hits 1991-2003

Rearviewmirror: Greatest Hits 1991-2003

4.4 9
by Pearl Jam
     
 

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There are a number of ways for a band to look back on a chunk of their career, and for this two-disc retrospective, Pearl Jam have chosen to take the thematic, rather than the chronological, route. Rearviewmirror is divided into an "Up" disc and a "Down" disc, a sensible approach given the often wild mood swings that mark the band's output. The former portion,See more details below

Overview

There are a number of ways for a band to look back on a chunk of their career, and for this two-disc retrospective, Pearl Jam have chosen to take the thematic, rather than the chronological, route. Rearviewmirror is divided into an "Up" disc and a "Down" disc, a sensible approach given the often wild mood swings that mark the band's output. The former portion, naturally enough, concentrates on the quintet's charging rockers, from the ecstatic, vinyl-worshipping "Spin the Black Circle" to the rending tones of "Jeremy" to the careening punk assault of "I Got S**t." The "Down" volume delves into the more introspective side of Eddie Vedder and company, running together such alternately doleful and pensive songs as "Nothingman" and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town." That disc also serves up the band's sole Top 40 hit, a cover of J. Frank Wilson's early-'60s death ballad, "Last Kiss." While there's no new material to be found here, longtime collaborator Brendan O'Brien does remix three tracks from the band's earliest days -- and those new versions of "Once," "Alive," and "Black" do differ significantly from the originals, particularly in the crisp separation in Mike McCready's and Stone Gossard's guitars. Objects in this Mirror are certainly worth a second look.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Joe Strummer once claimed that the Clash had stardom in their hands, then they dropped it on the floor and broke it. Pearl Jam took the opposite tact: they purposely left stardom behind. Nirvana may have ushered in the age of grunge and alternative rock, but Pearl Jam were the biggest band in the land during the first half of the '90s, dominating radio airwaves, MTV, and college dorms alike. Most bands would have embraced such widespread acclaim, but the quintet bristled at this vein, and started to restlessly explore new musical territory, a move that eventually whittled their fan base down to just the hardcore by the beginning of the next decade. That hardcore following was still large, and the band could still have the occasional surprising crossover hit, like the 1999 cover of J. Frank Wilson's teen tragedy classic "Last Kiss" that went to number two on the Billboard charts, but they were no longer the biggest band in the land. Spanning two discs, Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003) chronicles that journey and it does an expert job not only of capturing the moment when Pearl Jam were monstrously popular, but proving that they still turned out good music even when they were fading from the spotlight. Unlike most career-spanning, multi-disc retrospectives, Rearviewmirror does not emphasize latter-day albums in order to achieve a sense of balance that's inherently phony. Of the 33 tracks, only 12 date from the post-Vitalogy era, which means that the bulk of the collection concentrates on their early-'90s heyday, and nearly every radio hit and concert staple is here, outside of the Victoria Williams cover "Crazy Mary" and "Tremor Christ." While their presence would have been nice, they're not terribly missed, partially because such non-LP cuts like "State of Love and Trust," "I Got ID," "Last Kiss," and "Man of the Hour" are collected here, but mainly because the compilation plays so well. The songs are divided into the "Up Side" and "Down Side," meaning the first disc has all the rockers and the second disc has all the ballads. At first, this seems like a questionable strategy, since it's usually preferable to have all the hits follow in chronological order, but what makes this work is that the songs on each disc are presented in chronological order, and they sustain their mood quite well (this is partially helped by Brendan O'Brien's new mixes of "Once," "Alive," and "Black," which retain the feeling of the original songs but remove much of the dated glossy sheen in the production). Distilled to their hits and anthems, all of Pearl Jam's best qualities shine through and they sound bigger, better, and frankly more coherent than they do on their full-length albums. And that's why Rearviewmirror is a cut above most '90s hits collections: it not only gives casual fans all the hits, but it captures why the band mattered, while providing a better listen than their proper LPs in the process.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/16/2004
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0827969353523
catalogNumber:
93535

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pearl Jam   Primary Artist
Jeff Ament   Group Member
Matt Cameron   Group Member
Stone Gossard   Group Member
Mike McCready   Group Member
Eddie Vedder   Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Pearl Jam   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Wayne Cochran   Composer
John Burton   Engineer
Dave Abbruzzese   Composer
Carrie Akre   Composer
Jeff Ament   Composer,Concept
Tchad Blake   Producer,Audio Production
Matt Cameron   Composer
Nick DiDia   Engineer
Brett Eliason   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Don Gilmore   Engineer
Stone Gossard   Composer
Jack Irons   Composer
Adam Kasper   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Mike McCready   Composer
Brendan O'Brien   Producer,Engineer,Remixing,Audio Production
Rick Parashar   Producer,Engineer
Eddie Vedder   Composer
George Webb   Equipment Manager
Dave Hillis   Engineer
Trina Shoemaker   Engineer
Sam Hofstedt   Engineer
Caram Costanzo   Engineer
Matt Bayles   Engineer
Adrian Moore   Engineer
Ashley Stubbert   Engineer
Kevin Scott   Engineer
Andrew Samuels   Engineer

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