12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The perfect rock album, 29 Nov. 2004
Before listening this album gets five stars just for presentation. As with all Pearl Jam releases, the layout is simple and the artwork eyecatching. The inlay features interesting photos from throughout the band's career career.
This album highlights the depth, variation and quality in Pearl Jam's back catalogue. Anyone who dismissed them as grunge bandwaggon jumpers in the early 90's will realise that Vedder and co. have gone from strength to strength since then, building on the stadium rock of their debut 'Ten' via the punky 'Vitalogy' through to the more laid back 'Riot Act'. The songs on 'Rearviewmirror' range from strum-along acoustic ballads such as 'Nothingman' to full on rock beasts like 'Go', all featuring beautiful melodies, expertly played instruments and of course, Eddie Vedder's rich, warm sounding vocals, for me the highlight of all Pearl Jam's music.
The two discs are separated into the band's 'heavier' tracks on disc one, and the more laid back numbers on disc two, which is quite a good idea if you're the sort of person who likes to choose music according to their mood. Also it's nice to hear the tracks from different albums back to back, to get a feel for how the band's music has changed over the years.
The bands earliest tracks ('Once', 'Alive', 'Black' etc) benefit from having been re-mixed for this release. To the trained ear of the Pearl Jam nerd, they sound a lot different and fresh. 'Even Flow' features a different guitar solo take, which I don't think is quite as good as the original, but's it's nice to hear a different interpretation.
I was particularly pleased with the inclusion of some of Pearl Jam's 'non-album' tracks, particularly 'Breath' from the 'Singles' soundtrack and 'I Got S**t', a gritty and sparsely produced rocker owing a great deal to Neil Young (who plays extra guitar on the track).
Anyone who hasn't heard much (or any) Pearl Jam should listen to this to see how a true rock band does it, although I'd recommend this specifically to fans of anyone from Hundred Reasons to Ryan Adams, from Cave In to REM.