As a long-time admirer of Neil Young and a casual fan of Pearl Jam, I always fancied this album would be a worthwhile and memorable project. I was not disappointed. Mirror Ball is similar to some of Neil Young's other "jam" albums - Ragged Glory, Broken Arrow - in essence, but is quite a bit wider in scope. While the "incompetent yet brilliant" musicians of Crazy Horse have always personified the Garage Band That Made It Really Big and are the adequate and ideal band for backing Neil Young's rawer, less lyrically ambitious, more jam-heavy songs, you usually know just what to expect from the Neil Young & Crazy Horse albums - and that's just what you get. Rarely do they challenge their bandleader. Pearl Jam, while not featuring Yes-level musicianship, are nonetheless a tighter and more focused (not to mention more famous - hence, the automatic higher expectations) band - and they do push Young at points on this recording. Here he has written far more ambitious songs than he usually does in the context of this type of album: his lyrics here are some of his best ever - vivid, imagistic, startling, and captivating. The album also pushes the envelope musically. In addition to Neil, one of rock music's best and most distinctive guitar players, we have Pearl Jam's two fine players - Mike McCready and Stone Gossard - as well. They create, together, some truly great musical interplay on this record. Although still raw in essence, these songs move beyond the musical (and lyrical) level that you would expect from this type of Neil Young album: it's another level of sophistication. Neil has also written some truly great songs for this record - Song X, Peace and Love, Downtown, Scenery, and, especially, I'm The Ocean. An essential record for Young fans; Pearl Jam fans should take the dive as well.