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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 006

Match 006:

Alice In Chains "Love, Hate, Love" (1990)
Nirvana "Paper Cuts" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Jeremy" (1991)
Soundgarden "Hand Of God" (1987)

"Love, Hate, Love" is a song that Jerry Cantrell credits with helping to define the band's sound, and it definitely would have fit better on "Dirt" than anything else on "Facelift".  It's a slow, brooding build centered around self-loathing and reflections on non-existence.  It's creepy, the parts work really well together and again, the emotion of Layne Staley's voice carries the day, except this time it elevates a three star song to a four.

"Paper Cuts" is what happens when your teenage band learns how to palm mute and use feedback for the first time and tries to write something heavy.  The attempts at creepy arpeggios sound kind of pathetic after having just listened to "Love, Hate, Love".  And the vocals are some of Cobain's most annoying to top it all off.

"Jeremy" pulls off a neat lyrical trick.  The opening lines are about something that sounds really abstract "Arms raised in a V as the dead lay in pools of maroon below", but because it's talking about the drawings of a disturbed child, it's a lot more immediate and concrete than the listener may realize.  The story the song tells is an incredibly vivid depiction of what happens when a kid feels so out of control that their only option seems to them to be "lash out with violence".  Tomorrow cannot matter if I don't.  And the only way to get them to pay attention is...well, not pretty.  This is another song that, despite hearing it a bazillion times, is still absolutely epic as fuck when you sit and pay attention to it.

"Hand Of God" is another weird little creation from the primordial era of Soundgarden; the germinating stage before the bountiful harvest, if you will.  It features samples from a sermon which was on the tape that came with their used reel to reel deck they bought to record "Screaming Life" with.  The music is groovier than "Little Joe" but still kind of jammy and shrill, sort of like it belongs on "Ultramega OK".  Not bad, but not yet quite Soundgarden either.  Send it back for more rototilling.

"Jeremy": 4
"Love, Hate, Love": 3
"Hand Of God": 2
"Paper Cuts": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 22
Alice In Chains: 17
Nirvana: 12
Soundgarden: 9

Tomorrow, we see Match 007, which sees Soundgarden moving on from the "Screaming Life" EP to the "Fopp" EP.  See you then!

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