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EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED - Episode 087: If There Ever Was A Time...

There's a reason I used the Tenth Doctor for my episode pic: The phrase "I don't wanna go" resonated hard with me while I was doing this episode.  I recently got a job with the following schedule: Friday through Monday, 6PM to 4:30 AM.  Overtime, if mandatory, occurs on Tuesdays.  During my timeslot.  I can do prerecorded episodes on Thursdays, but only for so long since WXRW ideally wants a live host in their slots. Given that I will only have 24 hours notice if I'm working a Tuesday or not, I better get to banking some episodes.  But how long will that last?  The future's uncertain.

But the future's always uncertain.  I need to do what I need to do and WXRW needs to do what they need to do.  But it hasn't happened yet.

So I went into this episode with the mentality that this would be my last live show (which, who knows?).  If it is, I wanted to go out swining; to bring the big guns.  And for the most part, I did.  This episode is full of the kind of…
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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 025

Match 025:

Alice In Chains "Dirt" (1992)
Nirvana "Endless, Nameless" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Spin The Black Circle" (1994)
Soundgarden "Power Trip" (1989)

"Dirt" is still firmly in the slow, dragging portion of the album that bares its name, but at least it has interesting features.  The chorus is good, the solo is the perfect bittersweet balance the song needs, the opening riff is distinct and sets the tone, and most importantly the lyrics aren't cringe inducing in the lack of quality sense, but maybe in the bluntness of the narrator's suicidal urges, especially in light of who's singing it.

"Endless, Nameless" is the unlabled bonus track on "Nevermind", and it's a fucking mess, but that's by design.  It's also one of the longest songs we've heard in this process, clocking in at 6:44.  Also, it's the first song I ever heard where the guitar and bass are tuned down a full octave of where they&#…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 024

Match 024:

Alice In Chains "Junkhead" (1992)
Nirvana "Something In The Way" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Last Exit" (1994)
Soundgarden "Gun" (1989)

It's at this point I've come to realize something, and it's probably a controversial opinion, but "Facelift" > "Dirt".  Think about it.  This album slows to a crawl at track three and doesn't get over itself until track 9.  The lyrics on this album are almost comically depressing, and I know that's the point, but they're not even particularly good lyrics.  "Junkhead" specifically is about taking the drug user's side, which is an interesting concept, but the chorus is "What's my drug of choice? | Well what have you got? | I don't go broke | And I do it a lot".  You're not saying anything; you're just bragging about how good at drugs you are.  Switch that to selling drugs, and that could be any top 40 rap song of the last 15 years.…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 023

Match 023:

Alice In Chains "Rooster" (1992)
Nirvana "On A Plain" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Indifference" (1993)
Soundgarden "Hands All Over" (1989)

"Rooster" is almost on that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" level of "I AM SICK TO DEATH OF THIS SONG.  WHY AM I STILL HEARING IT?", but not quite.  Like a sliver below.  But I think it's a better song than "Teen Spirit", because it has more raison d'etre, more pathos and a clear narrative.  Also, I found myself singing along to the first verse while I set this file up to type, so it's still a song that I can appreciate, but it's still a song I'll turn the channel on 90% of the time.

"On A Plain" has an interesting refrain: "I love myself better than you."  That's kind of messed up considering two and a half years after this album came out, the line's author committed suicide.  If he loved himself more than anyone else, how misanth…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 022

Match 022:

Alice In Chains "Sickman" (1992)
Nirvana "Stay Away" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Leash" (1993)
Soundgarden "Ugly Truth" (1989)

I've never cared for "Sickman".  I always thought the slow parts killed its momentum, and come to think of its fast parts feel a bit hackneyed.  The drum fill at the beginning is like the one from "W.M.A." but shittier.  Plus, the lyrics are a bit try hard in the "I'm a loser; woe is me" department.

"Stay Away" is that song that drummers who like Nirvana all talk about because of the snare rolling that permeates the song.  It's probably the most energetic song they ever did, or maybe most upbeat is the best way to say it?  With some bands that'd be splitting hairs, but Nirvana had positive and negative energies warring for their attention.  It's certainly the biggest pit generator on "Nevermind", so major points for that.

"Leash" is a song I for…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 021

Match 021:

Alice In Chains "Down In A Hole" (1992)
Nirvana "Lounge Act" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town" (1993)
Soundgarden "Incessant Mace" (1988)

[Quick note: Apparently the first pressing of "Dirt" had "Down In A Hole" at the end of the album, between "Angry Chair" and "Would?".  I guess I've always had a second or third pressing so that's the order we do it in.]

"Down In A Hole" is one of the songs I'm the most sick of in this whole series, but I still think it's all right.  Objectively, it's a well put together song, it's got better lyrics than a lot of shit we've already covered, and if you can pretend you've never heard the thing before (or if you haven't heard it in about five years) you can pretend to enjoy it like you haven't heard it more times than you ever needed to.  It is perhaps the most perfect example of a gr…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 020

Match 020:

Alice In Chains "Rain When I Die" (1992)
Nirvana "Drain You" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Rats" (1993)
Soundgarden "Head Injury" (1988)

"Rain When I Die" is solidly a grunge song: it's slow, hard and it has themes of denial, isolation and death in the lyrics.  It's like a dying man clawing his way to the feet of his assailant and the assailant lamenting his bad luck.  "Aw man, it's probably gonna rain when I die.  That'll suck."  Not realizing that the dying man is about to make this come true as he claws his last into the apathetic scum that laid him low.  It's kinda like that, but with the cool vocal harmonies that you've come to expect from Alice In Chains.

"Drain You" strikes me as a lyrical treatise given by either a tired whore or a tired vampire.  It's their duty to completely drain you; it's not like they really want to or anything.  I guess it depends how filthy your mind wants t…