Skip to main content


Match 051:

Alice In Chains "Brother" (Unplugged) (1996)
Nirvana "Pennyroyal Tea" (1993)
Pearl Jam "Brain Of J." (1998)
Soundgarden "Fell On Black Days" (1994)

Layne's shakiness is a lot more evident trying to replicate Nancy Wilson's vocal from the original recording.  The verses are kind of interesting, but the chorus doesn't quite work.  It's close, but...not quite.  Cantrell is decent, which considering the food poisoning is amazing.  But again, this is a song that was acoustic to begin with being given the Unplugged treatment, substituting a withered husk that used to be Layne for Nancy Wilson from 1992.  He manages to get it together for the last chorus, but it's still not the best.

"Pennyroyal Tea" has always been kind of weak to me (weak pennyroyal tea?).  The lyrics are kind of nonsensical, the riffs are uncompelling, and parts of it make me realize this is the song that spawned half of Bush's first two albums.  For that alone, I kinda gotta downgrade it.

"Brain Of J." is a nice, energetic way to kick off "Yield".  It's a contrast to about half of "No Code", which was a lot more spacey record, and was probably designed to reassure the somewhat dwindling audience that "Hey!  We still know how to rock!  Come back!"  It...kind of worked?  Musically, the noteworthy things about "Brain Of J" are it's pep and...yeah, Eddie Vedder's voice is already starting to show signs that it's about half as good as it was five years ago.  It still works, but you can tell it's been damaged heavily by overuse.

You're not going to be able to top "Fell On Black Days" with much.  Even Soundgarden only has two or three better songs in their arsenal.  It's dark in such delectable ways, I love singing along to it, it's soulful in spite of feeling like you might be losing your soul if you're the's got dynamic for days, managing to nail the perfect balance of loud and quiet without pulling the same cliché verse-chorus-verse crap every grunge and nu metal band parroted from Nirvana...(a prime example of how to do it wrong: "Pennyroyal Tea") God DAMMIT this song is so good.  It's like black velvet to keep you warm in the winter or some shit.  I love it!

"Fell On Black Days": 4
"Brain Of J.": 3
"Pennyroyal Tea": 2
"Brother" (Unplugged): 1


Pearl Jam: 140
Alice In Chains: 134
Soundgarden: 119
Nirvana: 117

Tomorrow, we keep on truckin'!


Popular posts from this blog


Well, The Big Four Song Challenge Series Update has drawn to a close, and here we are in the aftermath.  Metallica edged out Megadeth on the strength of bonus material, Anthrax did okay and Slayer should have broken up when Jeff Hanneman died.  For real, all coming back with another album did for them was...well, make them money and allow them to keep touring and making more money, so there's that.  But more importantly, by releasing "Repentless", they dropped from two to three on my completely arbitrary opinion based blog series status ranking system!  Surely, that can't have been worth a couple million bucks?

Anyhow, I'm getting the feeling that rock music in general is going to need to evolve into something completely different or call it quits altogether.  Rock has had its 60 year run just like jazz did before it, and if it doesn't come up with something soon, it will fade away from the public consciousness, only to return in Gap commercials in the 2040…


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…


Anthrax "Vice Of The People" (2016) VS Megadeth "Melt The Ice Away" (2016) VS Metallica "When A Blind Man Cries" (2016) VS Slayer "Pride In Prejudice" (2015)

"Vice Of The People" is the Japanese bonus track for "For All Kings".  Aaaand it starts with that doofy march beat.  Wonderful.  The lyrics don't do it any favors in the "I should take this seriously" department either.  And like most of the songs I've slagged in this Update process, it's not bad.  It's just so "...whatever."

"Melt The Ice Away" is a Budgie cover that was the Spotify exclusive bonus track for "Dystopia".  It's funny how the original Budgie tracks are often much softer than the bands that cover them and turn them into fucking barnburners.  This song sounds a little goofy in the vocals and lyrics department, but knowing it's a Budgie song, it totally gets a pass.  And unlike some covers of Budgi…