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Rearviewmirror by Pearl Jam

Album: Vs.Released: 1993
  • Eddie Vedder wrote this about leaving his stepfather. He hated the guy with a passion. (thanks, Zipper - Phoenix, AZ)
  • This was released as the B-side of "Dissident." It has also appeared on numerous bootlegs.
  • Pearl Jam named their Greatest Hits 1991-2003 compilation Rearviewmirror. The two-disc collection was released in 2004. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
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Comments: 27

This is named after a Alfred Hitchcock movie title.Adrianna - Harrisburg, Pa
Yeah, Rearview Mirror can be interpreted two ways. Here Pearl Jam either write about escaping from organized Christianity/Religion/God or domestic abuse/violence that Eddie Vedder has seen enough of-He writes "Forced to endure what I'll never forgive...You'll pay for fooling around with me...Once and for all/I'm far away once you're in my rearview mirror!"-He is furious at society but then we all are! One of the reasons why Pearl Jam are still a brilliant Rock band-they'll never turn away from what's reallly going on in society. The world system will never work out in the end! Trayvon Martin was a decent innocent kid who never did anything wrong and my heart goes out to everyone who is concerned about human and civil rights! Now that he's in a better place, I hope this reignites the civil rights movement. Thanks PJ for restoring humanity in rock & roll! With any luck let's re-elect Obama-he's doing the best he can under difficult circumstances. Human rights, dignity and rock & roll foreverLeo - Westminster 1, Md
This song is a stigmatist's song...also about someone who was severely beaten. The song also contains references to "saw things" or seeing a spirit, one that's chasing them, one that waves in their mirror, etc. Creap show? Not really...there is use of middle English terminology in the song- "fool to your crown", used repeatedly in literature from the Middle Ages to reference loyalty to kings. This is about loyalty to a crown and a vision of a God or Jesus that is chasing them to help them endure the pain. The song clearly indicates "head at your feet, fool to your crown". That is what stigmatists are all about. Their history dates back to 1100 AD...my function is simply to read and interpret poetry and this is what I found.Poet1987_jlb - Horsham, Pa
This is probably my Fav PJ song and i'm sure its about being bullied at sachool and the rearview mirror is that final day when your not going to see them anymore and probably that your going to move on whilst the bullies are left behindDarren - London, United Kingdom
This song is about suicide. The song was was slightly re-written before the album's release to make it "less-catchy" because of the sensitive material.Riot - Palm Desert, Ca
i def think vedder wrote this like all his song for the people to make their own desicion on how it affects their life. I feel like the song is talking about a significant person who you were amazed by and then they treated you poorly and you realized it too late and no you see things so much clearer because they have left you and you broken.Andrew - Lancaster, Pa
This is my favorite pearl Jam song! I was abused by my father and the song is so powerful to me because I survived and am stronger for it!Chris - Loves Park, Il
In my mind it's about fleeing someone who treated you wrong when you couldn't do anything about it (eg. child-abuse). In the song this person it older and is leaving the situation.
And yah, it is on their album Vs.
Sippe - Saskatoon, Canada
Submission then Freedom..Elle - Santa Barbara, Ca
With lines like "I guess it was the beatings made me wise" and timing being a few months after, I thought it was a reference to the police beatings in 1992 like Rodney King.Pete - Los Angeles, Ca
This is my favorite driving song. I always saw it as someone who was oppressed through abuse and now they've gathered enough experience to understand what happened, and they have the strength to deal with it. My favorite line is "I gather speed from you f*cking with me" For some reason, this part make me happy. Sorry about the uncouth languageTori - Boston, Ma
at first listen, i thought this song was about a significant other, in the third person, perhaps something experienced by someone close to vedder, but the more i've listened to the song, and heard the strong feelings in his voice as he sings, it's as if he's recounting these acts, and you feel his pain, and realize that these are emotional scars that run deeper than anything anyone but his father could have done.Josh - Huntsvegas, Al
I always thought it was "Pissed on my plate/ Swallowed it down," which would probably make more sense considering you can't swallow a fist.Chris - Scranton, Pa
There is a lot of information in the public record regarding the creation of this song... none of which is hear, and gon from Chile is right. This is an album track. ALL Pearl Jam songs except for a handful appear on numerous bootlegs.Aless - Baltimore, Md
No doubt RVM is about a child "fist on my plate, swallowed it down" Classic child vs parent battle at the dinner table. I don't necessarily think he had daughter in mind though I can see why you'd think that.Kyle - St. Louis, Mo
Whoever said that this song had anything to do with Vedder going for a drive after Cobain's death is wrong. This song was recorded a year before Kurt took his lifePaul - Apple Valley, Ms
I'm sorry for yet another Cobain reference, but I heard that the song was about a cop who pulled him over when he went for a drive after hearing of Kurt's death. He's talking about seeing the cop's lights in his rear-view mirror.Thomas - Boston, Ma
i think most of you are right. in daughter (and i dont think it was a dislexic child but an abused little girl who feels guilt, shame and depression)now shes grown and like all abuse victims falls pray to an abuser in a love relationship and finally for the first time in the now womans life feels free and strong.Laurie - Stony Point, Ny
This song is great, and I love how right at the last time he says "saw things so much clearer" how at the end of the word "clearer" Eddie's voice goes out on him. Then you hear him try to recover his voice and say "oh yeah". The ability for their songs to sound good (possibily even better) when the sound is messed up for a split second I think is why PJ released most of their music on vinyl.Elliot - St. Louis, Mo
To me, I see this song as a relationship that has gone bad between a boyfriend and a girlfriend. I see it as the guy who is looking back at the girl, and he sees how she betrayed him. Does anyone see that?Loser - Your, Wa
Daughter's about a dislexic child who tries to make her mom proud.The Jorge - Hell, Other
I see it as like a sequel to Daughter because Daughter is about abuse and in Rearviewmirror Vedder sings "I guess it was the beatings that made me wise. im not about to give thanks or apologize" and "finally the shades are raised" and at the end of the song he says "saw things so much clearer once you were in my rearview mirror" meaning that its in the past.Jarred - Nicholasville, Ky
Some would also conclude that Rearviewmirror is about domestic violence.Becca - Boston, Ma
At the very end of the song, Dave's drumming really builds up and is intense. Apparently during recording the producer had him punch it out several times before settling on the final recording. You can hear the drum sticks fly across the room as Dave vents his frustration about it, just as the song ends... Nice TouchSteve - Ocean Grove, Australia
I don't think this song is just about his stepfather... although, that is the basic meaning. The more I listen to this song(one of PJ's best) I think Vedder is giving a life lesson. "I saw things so much clearer once you were in my rearview mirror". When can you best observe a situation?? From the outside. I don't know if he did this on purpose, but thats what I take from this song.Billy - Tallahassee, Fl
Yeah Gon is right.

In the song "Daughter" Eddie sings "The shades go down it's in her head"

In this song he sings "I hardly beleive, finally the shades are raised"
Brian - Paoli, In
It does a apear on an official album, it's song 8 on Pearl Jam's second album: VS.Gon - Concepcion, Chile