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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 009

Match 009:

Alice In Chains "Put You Down" (1990)
Nirvana "Swap Meet" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Garden" (1991)
Soundgarden "Swallow My Pride" (1988)

"Put You Down" sounds more like the cock rock grunge supplanted than almost anything else in all 127 matches we have set up for this thing.  And in 1990, an A&R guy probably heard this and thought: "First single!"  But what do they know?  It's not a bad song, but it's pretty cheezy.

"Swap Meet" is one of my favorites from "Bleach", even though it's not phenomenal or anything.  It's still a song that'll make you mean mug while you bob your head.  It's got a bouncy energy and a sinister riff, never slowing down from its brisk pace.  The lyrics tell a story, and the solo sucks in just the right way where it seems like sonic sarcasm instead of just bad playing.

"Garden" is the song most grunge/post-grunge bands think they're writing when they pull that soft verse hard chorus bullshit.  THIS is how it's done.  And in spite of how radio-ready it sounds, this is actually a deep cut; not even an unofficial single like "Black".  The smooth verses commit to being a ballad; they don't just feel like barely contained, evenly measured chunks of "The formula demands we be quiet for 8 bars, then loud chorus."  Even the chorus isn't the real hard part.  It's a soaring melody with distorted guitars, but it's not the aggressive bro dude ballad of ten years in the future.  It has a genuine quality completely bereft of its successors.  And then the middle section adds the beef, but the thicker, more powerful riffs aren't even the focal point; you kind of have to listen to get their full strength.  The solo's a bit lackadaisical for my tastes, but otherwise, it's a solid tune.

"Swallow My Pride" is better than "Kingdom Of Come" or "Little Joe", but it's rather meh, all the same, and it ends with a burp because why the fuck not?  If they don't care, why should I, right?

"Garden": 4
"Swap Meet": 3
"Put You Down": 2
"Swallow My Pride": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 34
Alice In Chains: 25
Nirvana: 18
Soundgarden: 13

Thankfully for Soundgarden, we will be moving into their first full length album next time, so let's see how they do!

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