Skip to main content


Match 037:

Alice In Chains "Swing On This" (1994)
Nirvana "Downer" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me (aka 'Stupid Mop')" (1994)
Soundgarden "Face Pollution" (1991)

"Swing On This" is as close to electric or metal as "Jar Of Flies" gets with acoustic, swingy verses paired with a grittier sounding, wah laden choruses and Layne Staley doing his spooky vocal harmony thing over the top.  Alice In Chains may not have been the greatest songwriters every time, but holy balls did they know how to create atmosphere. 

"Downer" is a hard-charging "fuck you" of a song.  It's not even two minutes, but it doesn't need to be any longer to knock your ass down.  It's one of their hardest songs for sure, and one of their most straight to the point.  (Astute listeners will note that this is the same exact version tacked onto the Geffen records re-release of "Bleach", which is why I didn't cover it there.)

ON THE OTHER HAND...The last track on "Vitalogy" is also the band's first with new drummer Jack Irons (originally of the Red Hot Chili Peppers).  It's literally just a jam that they threw a bunch of disturbing audio samples of interviews conducted by therapists in institutions presumably from the 50's or 60's.  It's the most fucked up thing the band has ever released, it's their longest song (clocking in at 7:43) (yet somehow not their longest song title)'s insufferable.  In the early to mid 90's this might have seemed cutting edge or dangerous or something, but now it just sounds like a waste of time.  I never liked it, and I don't think my opinion is likely to ever change.

"Face Pollution", in context with the album, kind of feels like the build up of energy from "Jesus Christ Pose" was the 10,000 or so spins to gain momentum and this is the release that catapults them the fuck over the moon.  It flies out of the chute after a literal "WOOOOOOOO!!!!" from Chris Cornell (which he repeats in the middle amid random horn stabs (!?) and fucked up proggy guitar chops.  This song goes so H.A.M. it winds up pork rinds, and NEVER does it give a FUCK.

"Face Pollution": 4
"Swing On This": 3
"Downer": 2
"Stupid Mop": 1


Pearl Jam: 112
Alice In Chains: 100
Nirvana: 85
Soundgarden: 75

Congrats to Alice In Chains for joining the centennial club!  Soundgarden is also only ten points behind Nirvana.  How long until they catch up?  You'll have to keep reading to find out.

Well, that does it for "Vitalogy" and "Jar Of Flies" (and Dave Abruzeze's tenure with Pearl Jam).  Tomorrow we venture into "No Code" and the self-titled "Alice In Chains".  Stay tuned.


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.

THE TOP 20 SONGS OF 2017 (Updated)

Here it is: My favorite songs of 2017.  This podcast won't be up forever so listen while you can before I end up putting something else up on Soundcloud (with its 3 hour limit ass).  [BLOGGER'S NOTE: The Top Albums podcast was longer than I anticipated, so it's already down.  Sorry.  Instead, I've linked to the songs below.]  I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor.  This year has been better than quite a few in recent memory, which took me by surprise.  Music is pretty sweet if you know where to look.

20. "Gucci" Qveen Herby
19. "Learn To Let Go" Kesha
18. "New York" St. Vincent
17. "Praying" Kesha
16. "Avalanche Alley" The New Pornographers
15. "Automaton" Robotaki
14. "Dreams" Beck
13. "Them Changes" Thundercat
12. "Woman" Kesha
11. "Rainbow" Kesha
10. "Automaton" Jamiroquai
9. "Constellations" Grant & Jessi Mason
8. "Wow Wow" Neil Cicierega
7. &qu…