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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 025

Match 025:

Alice In Chains "Dirt" (1992)
Nirvana "Endless, Nameless" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Spin The Black Circle" (1994)
Soundgarden "Power Trip" (1989)

"Dirt" is still firmly in the slow, dragging portion of the album that bares its name, but at least it has interesting features.  The chorus is good, the solo is the perfect bittersweet balance the song needs, the opening riff is distinct and sets the tone, and most importantly the lyrics aren't cringe inducing in the lack of quality sense, but maybe in the bluntness of the narrator's suicidal urges, especially in light of who's singing it.

"Endless, Nameless" is the unlabled bonus track on "Nevermind", and it's a fucking mess, but that's by design.  It's also one of the longest songs we've heard in this process, clocking in at 6:44.  Also, it's the first song I ever heard where the guitar and bass are tuned down a full octave of where they're supposed to be.  Considering this is a full 11 years before 8-String guitars were invented and Cobain is using a left handed stratocaster, the results are as crap-tastic as you'd expect, but since the song is mostly feedback and bass fuzz who's really counting?  You can hardly understand the words, but it's incredibly bleak, with lines like "Death | With violence | Excitement | Right Here | Died | Go to Hell | Here I am | Right here".  I remember hearing this for the first time and being absolutely enthralled because its primal scream therapy set to music, but now I'm kind of like "Eh, it's decent noise rock.  Really angry still; gotta give it that."

"Spin The Black Circle" is a song you heard a million times when it came out, but has sort of fallen by the wayside.  It is the first inkling of the descent into madness that is listening to "Vitalogy", because it's a lot more fast and aggressive than your usual Pearl Jam song.  Compared to the stuff on their first two albums, it's much more spastic.  It's not melodic at all except for the guitar line, and only just at that.  It's jumping down your throat and telling you to listen to vinyl.  (Which worked, because despite vinyl disappearing from retail stores, they brought it back for this.  "Vitalogy" sold 32,000 copies the first week, a mark that wouldn't be matched until Jack White's "Lazzaretto" in 2014.)

"Power Trip" sounds like a holdover from "Ultramega OK", though slightly better produced.  The ending has much more teeth to it than anything on that album, but it still falls short of the rest of the songs here, even though "Endless, Nameless" isn't necessarily a song.

"Dirt": 4
"Spin The Black Circle": 3
"Endless, Nameless": 2
"Power Trip": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 83
Alice In Chains: 63
Nirvana: 62
Soundgarden: 42

That does it for "Nevermind".  Tomorrow we venture onward with the first of two songs off the "Hoarmoaning" EP.  Really didn't expect "Dirt" to do so well, but hey, sometimes the matchup is kinda out there.  The battle rages on.

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