Pearl Jam Pearl Jam Twenty

Pearl Jam Pearl Jam Twenty
The question fans need to ask themselves when mulling over a purchase of Pearl Jam 20 is: "Do I really need another batch of live tracks?" For the soundtrack to his recent documentary of the same name, director Cameron Crowe assembled a host of material from the band's career. Choosing historical significance over fidelity, many of these recordings have the feel of a bootleg cassette from the early '90s. But as Crowe explains in the opening paragraph of this double disc collection's liner notes, he wanted the film to document the experience of being a fan of the band. And in the early '90s, being a fan of Pearl Jam meant tracking down live bootleg cassettes. Any attempt to cobble together a significant collection of studio nuggets was thwarted by the band's on-going reissue campaign. So instead of lost rarities and b-sides we get "Black" (from MTV Unplugged), "Do the Evolution" (from a Monkeywrench Radio session) and a performance of "Alive" (from the brief period when band operated under the name Mookie Blaylock). The second disc offers half-a-dozen demos, including Chris Cornell's original demo for Temple of the Dog's "Say Hello 2 Heaven," as well as the instrumental for what would become "Footsteps," which Jack Irons passed on to Eddie Vedder when the fledgling band were still searching for their voice. While better performances of these songs are no doubt floating around the Internet, it's hard to argue with the curatorial ear with which this collection was assembled. Pearl Jam Twenty is a rare compilation that manages to actually tell the complete story of its subject. (Columbia)