Skip to main content


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


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!


Popular posts from this blog


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…

R.I.P. Chris Cornell

The Grunge Match is suspended indefinitely.

I don't know when it will resume.  This hits way too close to home for way too many reasons.

As far as writing goes, I just did Match 112 Tuesday night.  I have no interest in going back through and making this a love letter to the departed, nor bashing him for tearing our hearts out.  I have no idea when I'll be able to even listen to Soundgarden again, and when I do, it won't be the fucking same so there's no way I can give any kind of objective rating.  Chris Cornell was the soul of that band, the thing that took sludge with a few acrobatic musical flourishes and made it into the hellfire slinging, metal rending monster that it needed to be.

So yeah.  This one hurts.  The man is dead.  The music remains, but is changed forever.  His friends, family and fans are suffering incalculable grief.  There's not much more to say, so silence seems like the best option.


Since dusting off The Big Four Song Challenge Series I got to thinking.  What about the other thrash metal giants out there?  There's always been a debate as to who the next four bands would be on the list.  The two constants are always Testament and Exodus, but nobody can agree who's 5 and who's 6.  Then nobody can agree on who the next two bands would be.  Overkill gets thrown around a lot, but they're not really as big as the two bands I've chosen to fill those slots.

Oh yeah.  Probably should have mentioned.  Though you've probably guessed by the blog post title, I am doing a completely new series of blogs called "The Next Four Song Challenge Series".  Same rules, same set up as before and same INSANE amount of blog posts.  The four bands we're going to be covering are as follows:

Suicidal Tendencies

Why not Overkill?  For one, I could never stand the guy's voice, but all told, Sepultura and Suicidal are bigger h…