Skip to main content

Posts

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 107

Match 107:

Alice In Chains "Your Decision" (2009)
Nirvana "Pay To Play" (1990)
Pearl Jam "The Fixer" (2009)
Soundgarden "Sub Pop Rock City" (1988)

"Your Decision" is a sunnier take on the slow acoustic Alice In Chains song, a nicer equivalent of songs like "Heaven Beside You" and way less twisted than something of the "I Stay Away" ilk.  It's middle of the road.  It gets the job done.  And it's catchy, despite being droll; not an easy line to walk.

"Pay To Play" is "Stay Away" with a word swap for the chorus and the second verse.  It's all around an almost identical but not as good version of the one from "Nevermind", so there's not a whole lot to say about it.

"The Fixer" was all over rock radio in 2009.  I remember really liking it, and it got me genuinely interested in Pearl Jam for the first time in almost fifteen years.  Then, I listened to the samples from &q…
Recent posts

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 108

Match 108:

Alice In Chains "A Looking In View" (2009)
Nirvana "Here She Comes Now" (1990)
Pearl Jam "Johnny Guitar" (2009)
Soundgarden "Toy Box" (1989)

"A Looking In View" was the first new Alice In Chains song in ten years, debuting as a single well ahead of the album.  It's at once no-nonsense and goes for the jugular with a buzzsaw, but it's also seven minutes long.  And the chorus exposes this as "Not Really Alice In Chains".  It sounds like a not so great approximation that I only realize now that I've reviewed 107 other songs by the band.  If I can block that out, however, "A Looking In View" is a perfectly serviceable hard rock sludge-fest with a soaring chorus.  And as the song goes on, they get better at it; the last chorus is the best one as far as delivery.  They get to what they were trying to do.  Structurally, the song is a cross between "Sludge Factory" and the second half of "L…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 106

Match 106:

Alice In Chains "Last Of My Kind" (2009)
Nirvana "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (Boom Box Demo) (1990)
Pearl Jam "Got Some" (2009)
Soundgarden "Rowing" (2012)

"Last Of My Kind" finally has Alice In Chains showing some balls.  (Man that doesn't sound right.  Why was "balls" ever a thing?)  It's only on the chorus but at this point I'll take what I can get.  This song isn't as good as I remembered it either.  It's still fair to midland, but the verses are pretty weak sauce, coupled with some meh lyrics.  The mid section gets pretty dark and I like that.  The simple, slightly too loud to be understated solo is the perfect touch because it's the bruising riffs that we want to hear in that part.  Matter of fact, the whole second half of the song really turns it around, getting a lot more meaty and coming through with some creepy mid-tone wah lead to ride out on.  It almost harkens back to some kind…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 105

Match 105:

Alice In Chains "Check My Brain" (2009)
Nirvana "Opinion" (1990)
Pearl Jam "Gonna See My Friend" (2009)
Soundgarden "Eyelid's Mouth" (2012)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers made any band ever singing the word "California" ever again uncool to a painful degree circa 1999, so with that in mind, plus a lazy sounding riff, "Check My Brain" had a tough hill to climb for me to like it.  I eventually came around, because that bendy riff is actually nifty for how simple it is, but this song isn't nearly as fun as it was when I first heard it eight years ago.  It's still catchy and has life, but it's not as anthemic as I remember.  Time has sapped some of its strength and it doesn't punch like it used to.

"Opinion" is from almost exactly a year later than the previous session, emanating from The Boy Meets Girls show on KAOS 89.3 in Olympia, Washington.  It's a solo acoustic performance by Kurt Cobain.…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 104

Match 104:

Alice In Chains "All Secrets Known" (2009)
Nirvana "Even In His Youth" (Live In The Studio, 1989)
Pearl Jam "Inside Job" (2006)
Soundgarden "Worse Dreams" (2012)

Alice In Chains played the last show of their first run on July 3, 1996.  From there on, the band was in limbo, with the tease of a comeback in 1999 when two new songs were included on their boxed set, but nothing materialized before the untimely demise of Layne Staley in 2002.  The band played a one-off reunion gig in 2005 with former Damageplan singer Pat Lachman (that dude needs a new band; underrated) to benefit survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, then made an appearance for a 2006 VH1 special dedicated to Heart.  Phil Anselmo sang a song with them, Ann Wilson sang a song with them, and the singer from some band called Comes With The Fall sang "Rooster" with them.  The band had actually opened for Jerry Cantrell on his 2002 tour, and their rhythm section …

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 103

Match 103:

Alice In Chains "Dam That River" (Live) (1996)
Nirvana "Token Eastern Song" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Come Back" (2006)
Soundgarden "Halfway There" (2012)

"Dam That River", being one of the quintessential "Track Two"s in album history, is a curious choice to end a disc with, especially knowing now how final that ending was.  They certainly went out with a bang on this one.  Alice In Chains manages to sound tougher than the "Dirt" version and musically tries to kick your teeth in.  Layne is mostly on point, bringing the last of his vitriol to the fore to be expended.  Unfortunately, he would be found unresponsive a few hours after the show, and the tour was cancelled.  Staley would make one other public appearance at a Jerry Cantrell solo show in 1998 before his untimely death in 2002.  So yeah, this was it.

There's not much else I can add to it.

"Token Eastern Song" doesn't have a whole lot of "…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 102

Match 102:

Alice In Chains "A Little Bitter" (Live) (1996)
Nirvana "Ain't It A Shame" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Army Reserve" (2006)
Soundgarden "Black Saturday" (2012)

I'm genuinely shocked to hear "A Little Bitter" in a live setting.  It was the other "Last Action Hero" song, the cult classic.  The Alice In Chains deep cut of deep cuts.  And given the state of the band and the kind of bland recording style of these live shows, this is still passionate.  This still, with all its flaws, has balls.

"Ain't It A Shame" is the only song The Jury did that's worth hearing.  It sounds like an aggro version of the Jackass theme.  Cobain goes in on this one.  And that drummer's nuckin' futs too.  You wanna talk about fire, this is like taking a bath in everclear.

Pearl Jam takes a more funk tinged, mid-70's Stones ballad approach with "Army Reserve".  The chorus reminds me of earlier Pearl Jam, but …