Skip to main content

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 to be to ascribe which meaning is more prevalent.

The song itself would have been a surefire single (it's that catchy) if not for the dark middle section.  That part is cool but I could see how it would freak out the normies.  I've always liked the vocal melody of the chorus; it's dark and brooding but not in a cliché way.

"Rats" is a weird funk thing kind of out of nowhere.  It's got a nice bob to it, it's a definite change of pace in the album, filling the "Deep" role from "Ten" in a way, and the chorus is cool.  The lyrics are kind of just there though, and it's probably my second least favorite song on "Vs." despite being at least a 3 & 1/3 star song.  (Also, "Lick the dirt off [Hakeem] Olajuwan's feet"?  Don't know what's up with that, but hey, whatever...)

"Head Injury" is a hard charging, fast paced ditty barreling through and past before you can really get into it.  And it kind of illustrates the flaw of this process a bit: This song isn't bad.  It's around a three star effort.  It's one of the best songs on "Ultramega OK" (though the ending gets a little annoying in the vocal department).  If this went up against less stiff competition, it would have a chance at the three point slot.  But "Ultramega OK" is going up against three of the best albums in grunge history, hell maybe in rock history (top 300 at least) and it doesn't stand much of a chance.  Point is "Not too shabby" isn't good enough at this stage of the game.

"Drain You": 4
"Rain When I Die": 3
"Rats": 2
"Head Injury": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 67
Alice In Chains: 53
Nirvana: 50
Soundgarden: 30

Today's matchup was strange in that all four songs are a different vibe.  "Rain When I Die" is slow, contemplative grunge, "Drain You" is dark pop rock, "Rats" has funk in it and "Head Injury" is kind of toned down crossover.  I honestly thought it would be harder to rate but these songs kind of made their Nick Appeal Levels clear pretty quick.  See you tomorrow for Match 021!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Update Wrap-Up

Well, The Big Four Song Challenge Series Update has drawn to a close, and here we are in the aftermath.  Metallica edged out Megadeth on the strength of bonus material, Anthrax did okay and Slayer should have broken up when Jeff Hanneman died.  For real, all coming back with another album did for them was...well, make them money and allow them to keep touring and making more money, so there's that.  But more importantly, by releasing "Repentless", they dropped from two to three on my completely arbitrary opinion based blog series status ranking system!  Surely, that can't have been worth a couple million bucks?

Anyhow, I'm getting the feeling that rock music in general is going to need to evolve into something completely different or call it quits altogether.  Rock has had its 60 year run just like jazz did before it, and if it doesn't come up with something soon, it will fade away from the public consciousness, only to return in Gap commercials in the 2040…

THE GRUNGE MATCH - Conclusion

This has certainly been a heck of a thing.

Writing this started out as a labor of love to a subgenre of rock and roll that came along at the perfect time for me (both when I was entering middle school in the bottom 5 of the popularity pecking order and when I started buying albums at the impressionable age of 11).  It obviously took a long time to put together: August 29th, 2016 is when I began planning, May 24th is when I wrote the last entry, the wee hours of August 1st, 2017 is when I finished proofreading and uploading the entries to the blog with video links, and here I am typing these words on August 15th.

The elephant in the room is this genre seems to be built on death.  Three of the four frontmen of these bands are dead, one of which occurred during the run of this series.  (Shouts to Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr as well.  R.I.P.)  On top of that, Pearl Jam only exists because the lead singer of Mother Love Bone died, causing that band to break up.  If you go down the nex…

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 185

Anthrax "Vice Of The People" (2016) VS Megadeth "Melt The Ice Away" (2016) VS Metallica "When A Blind Man Cries" (2016) VS Slayer "Pride In Prejudice" (2015)

"Vice Of The People" is the Japanese bonus track for "For All Kings".  Aaaand it starts with that doofy march beat.  Wonderful.  The lyrics don't do it any favors in the "I should take this seriously" department either.  And like most of the songs I've slagged in this Update process, it's not bad.  It's just so "...whatever."

"Melt The Ice Away" is a Budgie cover that was the Spotify exclusive bonus track for "Dystopia".  It's funny how the original Budgie tracks are often much softer than the bands that cover them and turn them into fucking barnburners.  This song sounds a little goofy in the vocals and lyrics department, but knowing it's a Budgie song, it totally gets a pass.  And unlike some covers of Budgi…