Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Neil Young (with Pearl Jam) ~ Mirror Ball

(Click on heading to visit Neil Young official website)
Style: classic rock, grunge, hard rock
Label: Reprise
Year: 1995
Home: n/a

Members: Neil Young ~ vocals/guitar/pump organ
Mike McCready, Stone Gossard ~ guitar
Jeff Ament ~ bass
Jack Irons ~ drums

Additional: Eddie Vedder ~ backing vocals



This is an interesting modern era NY album if for no other reason than his backing band is Pearl Jam, even including Eddie Vedder doing backing vocals on the radio hit "Peace & Love". The album was recorded live over four days following sharing a stage together. But, you wouldn't necessarily know this is essentially a joint Pearl Jam/NY release, their name absent from the cover for legal reasons, as it does not sound like their debut Ten or anything since, though it shares a producer with Vs. & Vitalogy. They haven't reached to the country feel of NY's band Crazy Horse either to become something they're not. Ironically on Ten Pearl Jam probably had more of a classic rock feel than they do here with mister classic rock himself, which is more a sign of the fact that this is a highly underdeveloped album that includes studio banner & probably a few outtakes that never made it to a formal master take. This is an album of spontaneous playing not intricate layering. Pearl Jam turn in some thick guitar playing that's a perfect match for NY's electrified alter ego, versus the more folksy-country acoustic persona he often presents. The key is that these guys might be an iconic band that helped turn grunge into a national movement, but they're playing with an influential icon & it's not about asserting a dominating personality but enjoying the experience, which goes for NY, too. NY is known for taking musical chances & changes of direction & thankfully isn't trying to over think this latest one to its detriment. NY lets himself wander in that unique NY way enjoying the team-up & has since said he didn't even know who was playing what as he was in a wave of sound in the studio. If you like the free spirit NY this is not a bad release. If you like Pearl Jam ... well, you probably don't think of them in a free spirit way. These are NY's compositions & its essentially his stamp on the music & he takes the lead role without a doubt, meaning it's hard to hear in this the Pearl Jam many of us know, which might be a downfall for some, while the meandering might be a downfall for others, but for those who like a groove that experiments & rides until the moment is finally over going on without boundaries then neither of these things will seem like a downfall. The album is loose, songs are built off of a simple progression, there's nothing tightly wound here with intricate changes as is typical of Pearl Jam, NY turns in cranky solo after cranky solo never holding back & the result is NY at a raw high & perhaps being raw is where he's at his best while Pearl Jam venture into a more experimental jam band mood. Two additional tracks were released under the Pearl Jam name, featuring Vedder, bassist Jeff Ament, drummer Jack Irons & NY on guitar & pump organ, as the companion two song Merkin Ball.

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