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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 039

Match 039:

Alice In Chains "Brush Away" (1995)
Nirvana "Hairspray Queen" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Hail, Hail" (1996)
Soundgarden "Searching With My Good Eye Closed" (1991)

"Brush Away" is my favorite song on the self-titled Alice In Chains album.  It's out of left field, it's got a cool clean riff at the beginning which gives it three levels of force; the verses are breezy yet solid with a crunching chorus.  The lyrics aren't insultingly bad, so that helps.  The backwards solo is cool too.  But I think what I like the most is it's under four minutes.  It's actually brisk by AIC standards.

"Hairspray Queen" has always been the worst Nirvana song, as far as I can tell.  "Rape Me" is my least favorite, but "Hairspray Queen" is straight up awful in a way that has to be on purpose.  So actually, the more I think about it, I like it better than "Rape Me".  It still really really sucks.

"Hail, Hail" was a reminder (that shouldn't have been necessary) that Pearl Jam were still capable of rocking.  It's a really solid Pearl Jam single, if only a slight step down from the lively faire from "Vitalogy", but I just noticed something about it for the first time: there's a weird gate on the hi-hats that makes them cut out at weird times.  It's only a problem for the first half of the song, cuz after that Irons moves to the ride cymbals, but...eh, it's not the end of the world.  This is actually pretty sweet.

"Searching With My Good Eye Closed" has a painfully long intro, which, given it would've been the beginning of the second side of the album in a time when cassette tapes were still hella viable and side two was still a thing, isn't too egregious, but then again it doesn't really add anything to the song so fuck it.  It's an artifact of the analog era and a bit of a throwback to shit like "Ultramega OK"'s less than amusing attempts at amusement.

All that aside, "Searching" is a good, slow-paced groove that would've benefited from meatier production; this album is too shrill to show off how deep it sounds.  (It's also during the middle section where I understand what album Prong told their producer to make "Cleansing" sound like; same producer, so go figure.)  It still holds up in spite of its faults, though it's one of the lesser tracks on "Badmotorfinger" (which is kinda like saying "one of the lesser tracks on Physical Graffiti", but eh).

"Brush Away": 4
"Hail, Hail": 3
"Searching With My Good Eye Closed": 2
"Hairspray Queen": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 117
Alice In Chains: 108
Nirvana: 87
Soundgarden: 80

Hey, look.  Everybody's over 80 now.  Come back tomorrow for Match 040!

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