“I will scream my lungs out till it fills this room,” Eddie Vedder proclaimed in 1993. The room filled up fast, but a funny thing happened on the way to world domination: Instead of railing against the demons in his head, Vedder took on Ticketmaster and MTV, and Pearl Jam turned out increasingly graceful tunes that explored the warmth in Vedder’s handsome baritone.
Pearl Jam have spent much of this decade courting devotees with a series of live bootlegs, so Rearviewmirror is a welcome concession to casual fans, rounding out the hits with concert staples and non-album cuts. The rockers on the “Up Side” disc sum up the band’s continually evolving relationship with effects pedals and emotional catharsis; the slower “Down Side” disc offers gold sounds that are long on big choruses and well-worn sincerity. Dozens of Nineties bands got rich ripping off Pearl Jam’s basic sound, but none learned to channel grand gestures like these guys, and none have done such a fine job of growing up with their audience.