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 BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 172

Anthrax "Impaled" (2016) VS Megadeth "Dystopia" (2016) VS Metallica "Atlas, Rise!" (2016) VS Slayer "Jihad" (Live from Sofia, Bulgaria) (2010)

Unfortunately, Anthrax drew the short straw here, as "Impaled" is a middling intro that, on top of being a bit of a non-song, goes on a hair too long for its own good.

"Dystopia" is a solid, upbeat fist-pumper that was a no-brainer to make the first single off the album of the same name.  It may seem a little milquetoast for the first half, but once the "single" part falls away, it reveals a banger in the back half that makes you remember why you like this stuff in the first place.  It'll take more than one listen to realize how cool this song is, but on play two or three you'll be nodding your head with a pleased scowl on your face.

My first impression of "Atlas, Rise!" was "This is the most average Metallica song ever."  Like if you took all the Met…

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 178

Anthrax "Suzerain" (2016) VS Megadeth "Conquer Or Die!" (2016) VS Metallica "ManUNkind" (2016) VS Slayer "Cast The First Stone" (2015)

"Suzerain" is your pentennial reminder that Charlie Bennante don't fuck around.  Definitely the most fiery song on "For All Kings", and probably the closest to the old Anthrax as we're going to get ever again.  Bang your head in reflection.

"Conquer Or Die!" is more old school, though whether that works for or against it is up to you.  It's the three minute instrumental interlude.  This one is...fine.  Honestly, it's better than fine when compared to the song I have to review next, so I shan't complain too loudly.  But it is a song you wouldn't exactly miss if it fell off the face of the planet either.

"ManUNkind" was the point where I stopped giving "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct" the benefit of the doubt and started dreading the fact that I h…