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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 033

Match 033:

Alice In Chains "I Stay Away" (1994)
Nirvana "Molly's Lips" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Satan's Bed" (1994)
Soundgarden "Rusty Cage" (1991)

"I Stay Away" is a cool song, interesting and myriad with it's moving pieces, but parts of it have always kind of seemed...off.  Not bad, just...off.  Like the riffs during the pre-chorus: At once interesting in its bizarre, unexpected nature and repellent with its jangly unkemptitude.  But holy shit the strings in the chorus just seal the deal.  And as usual, Layne Staley's delivery's on fuckin' POINT.

"Molly's Lips" is a Vaseline's cover.  It has a bouncy, fun nature that you wouldn't normally associate with Nirvana, but they manage to at least feign sincerity if not outright display it.  Nothin' fancy, just a straight ahead, two minute fuzz tone beach ball to the brain.  (Though the lyric "She'll take me anywhere as long as I stay clean" takes on a different meaning when you realize this album came out when Kurt and Courtney were at least trying to give the impression they weren't using heroin with a newborn in their life to get the press to lay off.)

I've never liked "Satan's Bed".  It's not the worst or anything, but it's a pretty meh song.  It has an energy to it, but it's not quite what you're expecting from Pearl Jam at this stage of their career.  This sounds like a band that's been around twenty years or more and they're trying to recapture lost glory, whereas this was recorded two and a half years after "Ten" came out.  It also doesn't help that the lyrics kind of suck.  This must've seemed like a good idea at the time to a band about to tear itself apart, but it wasn't then and isn't now. (Case in point: the day this was recorded, Dave Abbruzzese was having his tonsils removed, so Eddie Vedder just had his drum tech track the song in his place, which probably contributed to Abbruzzese leaving the band a few months later and the drums on this song sounding weaker than the rest of the album.)

"Rusty Cage" is one of my favorite Soundgarden songs.  This is the perfect way to open "Badmotorfinger".  It's in a weird time, it showcases Chris Cornell's paint peeling vocal range and the transition from pulse-pounding hard rock to gut-punching nasty groove at the end is anything but forced. 

"Rusty Cage": 4
"I Stay Away": 3
"Molly's Lips": 2
"Satan's Bed": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 102
Alice In Chains: 88
Nirvana: 78
Soundgarden: 62

Soundgarden has now officially hit their stride.  Everybody take notice.

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