Skip to main content


Match 077:

Alice In Chains "Whatcha Gonna Do" (1988)
Nirvana "Spank Thru" (Live) (1991)
Pearl Jam "Can't Keep" (2002)
Soundgarden "Dusty" (1996)

"Whatcha Gonna Do", along with the next four entries, is also from the pre "Facelift" demo in 1988.  It's still got a pseudo-Guns vibe, but it's way less basic, it's got more attitude, Sean Kinney don't give a FUCK on them drum fills, the pre-chorus takes a vicious turn...this is the best Alice In Chains song I've reviewed since at least "Jar Of Flies".  It does have a weird mid-section that goes all funk rock for no good reason, but the verses and chorus are so energetic, so biting and so...FUN you can't really deny it.  It benefits greatly from remaster, because there's no way it sounded this good as a demo.  In fact, as far as pure sound, this might be the best they've ever sounded.  It's definitely the best drum sound they've ever had.

"Spank-Thru" was recorded in Rome, November 1991.  It's one of the first songs Nirvana ever recorded, demoing the song in 1985.  It's nothing like anything else from their albums.  It's kind of got a hillbilly twinge to it, but inexpertly played in that mocking way Nirvana always has.  Then it starts being a rock song, and the swagger and vitality make it somewhat compelling.  It's still a sore thumb in a bag of hammers as far as their discography is concerned.

"Can't Keep" is our first post-9/11 composition.  From a sonic perspective, I had a moment of "Did I accidentally click the Soundgarden song instead?" because "Dusty" prominently features an acoustic guitar.  The atmosphere of "Can't Keep" is different though, more aspirational.  It has a darkness to it, definitely some night music going on here, but like a bonfire on the beach night, with a little bit of youthful exuberance thrown in to keep spirits bolstered.  This feels more weighty, than most of "Binaural" did, which is a good first step.

"Dusty" is a boss-ass song.  It's got weird rhythm, it's got cool vocal harmony, and it's got a bite without having to be heavy.  It's even got atmosphere.  "Dusty" also features the lyric "I'm Down On The Upside", so it's the de-facto title track.  There's a lot of interesting little twinges going on in the second or third layer of guitar too if you pay close attention.

This one's a bit of a toughee.  "Whatcha Gonna Do" is an absolute hammer of a song, but "Dusty" is tasty as fuck.  They're both really good but in different ways.  Yeah, "Whatcha Gonna Do" has kind of a bunk mid-section, but I'd rather crank that in the car than "Dusty" most of the time, so...Hmmm...I think I'm gonna go like this:

"Whatcha Gonna Do": 4
"Dusty": 3
"Can't Keep": 2
"Spank-Thru" (Live): 1

...which hurts a little, cuz "Can't Keep" is worth more than a 2, but...competition is competition.


Alice In Chains: 200
Soundgarden: 199
Pearl Jam: 193
Nirvana: 178

And with that Alice In Chains not only takes the lead, but becomes the first to join the 200 club (which meant something much different in the 80's)!  In spite of a good effort, Pearl Jam slips another notch in the face of stiff competition.  Though if they can keep that level up (I'm largely unfamiliar with "Riot Act" so who knows?), they might have a chance to get back on top.


Popular posts from this blog


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…

WHAT THE HELL IS A BLOG? - iTunes Music Reviews, April 2018

Being that it's been more than a year since I've attempted one of these and iTunes is gonna stop selling mp3's next year, this is probably my next to last chance to do this sort of thing.  I started doing hot take reviews of albums based off nothing but 30 second iTunes previews in 2007, and if I'd been smart, I'd've transitioned to YouTube with them in about 2009.  I didn't, so here we are.  If reading a slightly older gentleman trying to temper his apathy and vexation at modern pop music and give it a fair shake (or trying to be funny when shitting on things that he can't resist shitting on) is your jam, step up to the dance floor!

Scoring system goes from 0 stars (sometimes negative if it goes the extra mile of horrible) to five stars (which has happened three times in 11 years of doing this, and I'd take every one of them back because that's the thing with hot takes).  Here we go!

Cardi B "Invasion Of Privacy" ❂ & 1/2
(or ❂❂, dep…

MUSIC REVIEWS: Sophie, Hannah Diamond, The Brash Menagerie, Beach House & MC Lars

Hey, y'all.  Managed to cobble together some more opinions on the musics and such.  Let's see what listening to albums has done to my brain-to-word connectivity this week!

Ratings are like this:
0 Stars: Utter Shit
* Star: Had at least one redeeming thing about it, but definitely not my thing
** Stars: Meh.  Maybe a thing or two I liked, but definitely coulda been worse.
***: A Good Album.
****: A Great Album.
*****: Absolutely fucking incredible.  (Almost impossible to achieve.)

Sophie "Oil Of Every Pear's Un-Insides" *** and 1/4

Starts with a relaxing, reassuring song "It's Okay To Cry", which gets jarring out of nowhere at the end.  Which seemed needless, but then "Ponyboy" slams into the picture and I see what she was doing there: Dialating your sphincter for the unholy beating your asshole is about to endure.

This album is jagged; it's harsh; it's repellent; it's brutal; but most importantly: it's interesting.  It's…