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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 075

Match 075:

Alice In Chains "Get Born Again" (1999)
Nirvana "Lithium" (Live) (1991)
Pearl Jam "Soon Forget" (2000)
Soundgarden "Rhinosaur" (1996)

"Get Born Again" is the last single Alice In Chains released with Layne Staley.  The song is more "Dirt" than anything they've done since.  In fact, it's more accurate to say it's like a darker "What The Hell Have I?" from the Last Action Hero soundtrack.  At the time it felt like a tantalizing hint at a new beginning, but alas it was not to be.  The only real criticism of the song is the production feels a little flat, a little dimensionless, but other than that, this is a lost classic in the Alice In Chains oeuvre.

This version of "Lithium" sounds like it's on either a pop station or a shitty cassette tape, because it's in E# without quite making it to F.  As a result of playing it in such a high key, Cobain's vocals suffer.  Seriously, it's like they're out of tune but threw a capo on and said fuck it, let's go.  At least it's got energy?

"Soon Forget" is the first Eddie Vedder solo ukulele tune, sounding like a slightly more foul-mouthed Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.  Not much to report, other than it's...okay, I guess.

"Rhinosaur" was the B-Side to Soundgarden's final pre-breakup single "Ty Cobb".  It is definitely an exercise in restraint compared to their prior material.  It's like everything is an octave too high, but there are hints of the bite it could have had if they weren't experimenting at the time.  It's still a well crafted pop rock song, in spite of its bizarre time shifts and out of nowhere double time out of control solo section.  Decent enough, I'd say.

"Get Born Again": 4
"Rhinosaur": 3
"Soon Forget": 2
"Lithium" (Live): 1

TOTALS:

Alice In Chains: 193
Soundgarden: 192
Pearl Jam: 190
Nirvana: 175

Separation is starting to take shape.  Alice In Chains has reclaimed the lead from once-permanent cellar-dwellers Soundgarden, though Soundgarden has managed to gain the smallest measure of breathing room from Pearl Jam at 2 points.  Nirvana seems to be hitting a slump with a few bum versions of old favorites, but hopefully that will turn around soon.

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