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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 038

Match 038:

Alice In Chains "Grind" (1995)
Nirvana "Mexican Seafood" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Sometimes" (1996)
Soundgarden "Somewhere" (1991)

As a "comeback" song, "Grind" could use a little work.  Not planning the funeral before the body dies fits Alice In Chains's shtick, but looking back it's painfully ironic.  One of the guys singing that lyric has been dead for fifteen years, and this wound up being their last album for about the same amount of time.  But shtick also seems to fit this song.  It kind of feels like a too-perfect distillation of the band's archetypes with a catchy, sun-shiny chorus to add to the feeling that this was...calculated.  And given this came out in late '95, we'd already seen a bunch of grunge bands try to cash in/out by then.  I didn't even buy this album until my folks signed me up for Columbia House in 1998 and I got 12 CDs for a penny.  Something about it put me off and I never really gave it a chance.

"Mexican Seafood" is a halfway decent punk grunge song nearly as sloppy as its subject matter.  I can barely make out the lyrics (and honestly think its more fun if I don't look them up) but he says something about diarrhea.

"Sometimes" is a VERY understated way to open up a rock album.  And you can already tell that Eddie Vedder's relentless vocal stylings were starting to catch up to him.  His shit cracks.  As an opener it's questionable at best, but as a song in a vacuum it's not bad.

"Somewhere" is the necessary mid-paced air brakes after the last two blistering jams.  It pulls the proceedings into a slingshot orbit around the moon, then sends the listener firing back to Earth.  It's got a fairly catchy chorus but with weird word choices that prevent it from really getting deep in there, but it's not a bad little tune.

In spite of what I said, "Grind" may be the most Alice In Chains-y song that ever Alice In Chains'd (and cynically constructed to do so), but if I didn't like Alice In Chains, I wouldn't be doing this, so...wash.

"Grind": 4
"Somewhere": 3
"Sometimes": 2
"Mexican Seafood": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 114
Alice In Chains: 104
Nirvana: 86
Soundgarden: 78

It's here where I should point out the chronological gap.  Pearl Jam is already in a time after Metallica headlined Lollapalooza.  Grunge was dead.  Soundgarden is only a few months removed from first playing Lollapalooza.  Grunge was about to become mainstream for the first time.  To keep the sequencing straight, this is how I had to do it; I couldn't help that "Screaming Life" came out four years before "Ten".  This was bound to happen.  But it does make things a little weird.  I mean, this whole thing is weird; for the period between 1997 and 2009, Pearl Jam is the only one of these four bands that was still active.  So if things are starting to seem a bit skewed, well, they're only gonna get weirder from here.  I hope you continue along with me on this journey.

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