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Match 080:

Alice In Chains "Killing Yourself" (1988)
Nirvana "Milk It" (Live) (1994)
Pearl Jam "Cropduster" (2002)
Soundgarden "Burden In My Hand" (1996)

"Killing Yourself" is better than "I Can't Have You Blues", but it falls back below the line of "ready for prime time".  It sounds like a B-Side, but it's a decent B-Side.  It has some guts and Layne Staley is getting his "Come on, fuckers!  Make some noise!" frontman swagger on.  This whole demo is so unlike the rest of their catalogue in how rock and roll it is.

"Milk It" (Live) is one of only three (or possibly four) commercially released tracks by Nirvana that were recorded in the year 1994.  This one was on January 7th to be precise, emanating from the Seattle Center Arena.  This, being a three piece band trying to replicate the wall of brutality the original achieved, falls short of the "In Utero" version, but it does as good a job as they could manage.

With a title like "Cropduster", I was expecting a wet fart of a song.  I mean...the lyrics talk about "Light green to green, dark green to brown..." and I thought I heard "This was an accident" in the chorus it shart week?  (No.  The lyric is "This world's an accident" and the colors refer to plant life and soil, but my juvenile interpretation is more fun than the bog standard Pearl Jam song we have to analyze.)  The song's not bad, but without reading the lyrics, I would never have thought anything of merit was here for the gleaning, and after that, barely just.

I'm not quite sure if "Burden In My Hand" is the best song on "Down On The Upside" or not, but it's gotta be top two or three.  Certainly the most enduring one.  This song could still get play on rock radio today (and probably does every once in awhile).  Knowing now that "Down On The Upside" only sold 1.6 million and looking back on what music, specifically rock, did going forward, I don't know how much longer Soundgarden had to be popular if they'd stayed together.  I think people wouldn't revere them as much now, especially if they put out some bullshit like "Sweet Sunshower" (Chris Cornell's solo single from 1999).  Pearl Jam started to slide right around the same time and Jerry Cantrell's solo shit didn't do as well either.  Because Pearl Jam didn't self-destruct in spectacular fashion, we got to see what would have been the natural life cycle of a grunge band going the distance.  Not to say Pearl Jam isn't revered, but people seem to be more passionate about the three bands that broke up in the 90's than the grizzled vets still slugging it out.

Anyway, "Burden In My Hand" is about half way between "Dusty" and "Spoonman" but without any of the weird time tricks.  It also uses some of the same chords as "Head Down" from "Superunknown".  It's a really good mid-paced acoustic/electric radio single.  Song craft counts for something.

"Burden In My Hand": 4
"Killing Yourself": 3
"Milk It" (Live): 2
"Cropduster": 1


Alice In Chains: 211
Soundgarden: 209
Pearl Jam: 196
Nirvana: 184

Moving right along...


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The Grunge Match is suspended indefinitely.

I don't know when it will resume.  This hits way too close to home for way too many reasons.

As far as writing goes, I just did Match 112 Tuesday night.  I have no interest in going back through and making this a love letter to the departed, nor bashing him for tearing our hearts out.  I have no idea when I'll be able to even listen to Soundgarden again, and when I do, it won't be the fucking same so there's no way I can give any kind of objective rating.  Chris Cornell was the soul of that band, the thing that took sludge with a few acrobatic musical flourishes and made it into the hellfire slinging, metal rending monster that it needed to be.

So yeah.  This one hurts.  The man is dead.  The music remains, but is changed forever.  His friends, family and fans are suffering incalculable grief.  There's not much more to say, so silence seems like the best option.