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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 055

Match 055:

Alice In Chains "Angry Chair" (Unplugged) (1996)
Nirvana "Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip" (1993)
Pearl Jam "Wishlist" (1998)
Soundgarden "Black Hole Sun" (1994)

For anyone buying into the rumor that Layne Staley had gangrene in his fingers, you can stop it now, because he plays guitar on this song.  In fact, he takes the glove off his fret hand.  This version of the song has an interesting difference to it, as the original relied a lot on the sustain of electric guitars to fill in the spaces and create a tapestry, whereas the acoustic version creates a bunch of pauses that weren't present in the original.  Gone also is the wah and the scream of Cantrell's attack, forcing him to play a different solo.  It's faithful to the original, but because of the constraints of acoustic vs. electric guitar, it makes the song unique.

"Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip" is a hidden track on non-U.S. pressings of "In Utero".  It's a seven and a half minute rambling mess with crass lyrics and pseudo-psychedelic guitar riffs.  There's not really a point to this; in fact it sounds more like the shitty copycat grunge bands that followed after and just latched onto the "not trying" part of grunge.

"Wishlist" starts like some adult alternative song, like you're about to hear the new The Fray single or something.  It's not quite Coldplay lame, but it's...not far enough above that.  In a way, this song is ahead of its time, because it really sounds like a mid 2000's alt rock hit.

Hoo boy.  This is a song I have a hard time hearing objectively.  I don't know if I ever really got a chance to appreciate this song; it seemed like it was born overplayed.  I like it more now certainly than when it was ubiquitous (to call it popular is an understatement).  But hearing it with fresh ears is a fucking CHALLENGE.  It's well put together, as they use simple elements like sunny arpeggios then turn them into darker ones for the chorus, but then the middle section is in some fucked up time signature, like you're in the vortex or some shit, but then it goes all normie again for the finish.  The lyrics are semi-intentional gibberish, not really meaning anything but sort of pointing towards a negative feeling.  There's actually a good song buried beneath the layers of "I never ever NEVER need to hear this song again as long as I fucking live" that have piled up over the decades.

"Black Hole Sun": 4
"Angry Chair" (Unplugged): 3
"Wishlist": 2 (BARELY)
"Gallons Of Who The Fuck Cares": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 149
Alice In Chains: 143
Soundgarden: 132
Nirvana: 126

Up next tomorrow is Nirvana stepping into the "Unplugged" arena as well, and another of Soundgarden's most famous songs.  Check back in for that.

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