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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 041

Match 041:

Alice In Chains "Heaven Beside You" (1995)
Nirvana "Big Long Now" (1992)
Pearl Jam "In My Tree" (1996)
Soundgarden "Mind Riot" (1991)

"Heaven Beside You" is the second single from Alice In Chains's self-titled album, and it's the one that most tips you off that this was originally intended to be Jerry Cantrell's debut solo effort.  Layne Staley came through after they'd written most of it, and his presence is least felt on this song.  It's reminiscent of "Jar Of Flies" but a lot more cravenly mainstream.  This was made to be a radio hit, and BOY was it.  It's not a bad song per se; it has a nice mid-section and outro, taking a dark turn; the chorus isn't the worst and the second...chorus(?) is the best part of the song, really.  But those lyrics are why I've never taken Jerry Cantrell as seriously as I wanted to. 

"Big Long Now" is a droney, drifty, aimless number that stumbles along for five minutes.  There's really not a lot to say about it, other than the verses are surprisingly melodic for a dirge like this.  Almost feels like the worst seventh grade slow dance ever (and not necessarily because this reminds me of some very early Eden's Rage compositions).

"In My Tree" has a busy rhythm, almost like a polyrhythmic Bo Diddley beat, but with a marching band backing it up in places.  This song is a lot more uplifting and anthemic than I remember it.  All I really recalled was the beginning.  This almost sounds like something that could've been a hit by some hipster band four years ago.  In mid 1996, this was a deep cut on an album that divided Pearl Jam's fan base.  It's got a lot of little cool ideas in there, but it feels like it stops just short of coalescing into what it needs to be.

"Mind Riot" is another song from "Badmotorfinger" I absolutely love.  It's more lyrically forlorn than some of their other material (which says something), yet somehow manages to be in E major, have two percussion tracks, features soaring vocals and awesome guitar leads that never stray into wank.  It's a warm, passionate song about...mourning, I think?  Whatever, I love this thing.

"Mind Riot": 4
"In My Tree": 3
"Heaven Beside You": 2
"Big Long Now": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 121
Alice In Chains: 112
Nirvana: 91
Soundgarden: 88

Tomorrow, we'll see the back end of "Incesticide" as it goes out with a bang.  Come on back.

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