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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 073

Match 073:

Jerry Cantrell "Between" (1998)
Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Live) (1991)
Pearl Jam "Rival" (2000)
Soundgarden "She Likes Surprises" (1995)

I never liked this song, even when I thought "Boggy Depot" was okay.  It's got some of the worst lyrics Cantrell ever wrote, it's musically dull...well, maybe not as bad in that department as I remember it.  It's his attempt at writing a country song.  It's got some pretty nice lead work, it's got an okay chorus...but the verse about going to his ranch?  Never quite got over that.  At least it's more alive that 7/8 of this album, in spite of being a middle of the road country rock song.

And now "Smells Like Teen Spirit" gets the fairgrounds treatment.  It's popular enough at this point that the crowd recognizes it from the clean tone part, but not like going ballistic or anything.  It's also early enough in the run that Nirvana don't hate this song as much as most rock radio and music store employees do in 2017.  They are playing relatively new material that feels fresh to them.  They're not dragging their feet, rolling their eyes or refusing to even play it.  And the enthusiasm makes for a good performance.

"Rival" starts much like a full band sequel to "Bugs" from "Vitalogy", but much less unhinged.  "This nation's about to explode" was an unfortunate portend to portend a year before 9/11, but what can ya do?  It's a waltz with piano in the background and jangling power chords, and yet manages an ephemerality by fading in then out.  I would have liked it to go on a little longer and move into a different section for some contrast, but it's a pretty decent little tune as is.

"She Likes Surprises" sounds more like the album to come ("Down On The Upside") than "Superunknown".  It's more psychedelic and plays with melody more than being preoccupied with being gutsy or tough, but still has its moments where Soundgarden demonstrate how effortless it is for them to rock.  It's an odd little bird, but intriguing.  It really is the halfway point between the two albums.

"She Likes Surprises": 4
"Rival": 3
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Live): 2
"Between": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 186
Soundgarden: 186
Alice In Chains: 185
Nirvana: 173

Whoa, that's a shakeup!  Alice In Chains falls to third place as Pearl Jam and Soundgarden tie for the lead!  Tomorrow brings about the end of "Boggy Depot" (with one of its best songs) and the beginning of "Down On The Upside".  Things are getting interesting!

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