Skip to main content

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 083

Match 083:

Alice In Chains "Fear The Voices" (1991)
Nirvana "Breed" (Live) (1989)
Pearl Jam "Thumbing My Way" (2002)
Soundgarden "Never The Machine Forever" (1996)

"Fear The Voices", which sounds like it was written for the 1988 demo, was actually part of the "Dirt" sessions, and it totally sticks out like a sore thumb.  This was the single from the boxed set proper, where "Get Born Again" was the single for "Nothing Safe: The Best Of The Box", a one disc comp of stuff from "Music Bank".  It's not as good as I remember it, always threatening to take it over the top and really rock, but instead feels just a bit too goofy and kind of restrained.

"Breed" is another recording from the tail end of 1989 of a song the world got to know from "Nevermind".  And holy shit does this performance suck.  Cobain sounds like he doesn't know or care what he's doing with the vocals.  I don't even think this song had lyrics yet.  If it did, he doesn't remember any of them.

"Thumbing My Way" is on some Americana shit, yo.  The sound of the acoustics and the drums is going for hella rustic and succeeds.  I'm not sure Vedder's voice quite fits, but it isn't the worst folk singer impression I've heard.  It idealizes the old ways of hitchhiking, the journey itself, even the destination he's going to is called "Heaven".  It's all a bit too pie in the sky for me.  The song has atmosphere, but no planet to encapsulate.

One of the reasons "Down On The Upside" sounds different (and less heavy) is because Kim Thayill only has one writing credit: "Never The Machine Forever".  It's certainly the heaviest song on here.  The rest is written by Ben Shepherd and Chris Cornell, with Matt Cameron penning "Applebite" and "Rhinosaur".  This was one of the sticking points that led to the band's breakup a year later.  Granted, Thayill only had four on "Superunknown", but eh.  The other thing I noticed is Ben Shepherd wrote my two least favorite tracks on "Superunknown", and then wrote half this album.  And the songwriting has his fingerprints.

What does it all add up to?  I'uh'no.  As far as the song goes, I'm not a huge fan of Cornell's vocals on it, but the song is bouncy and energetic; it injects a dose of balls that was sorely needed on this slightly-too-artsy rock album.

"Never The Machine Forever": 4
"Fear The Voices": 3
"Thumbing My Way": 2
"Breed" (Live): 1

TOTALS:

Alice In Chains: 220
Soundgarden: 216
Pearl Jam: 202
Nirvana: 192

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Update Wrap-Up

Well, The Big Four Song Challenge Series Update has drawn to a close, and here we are in the aftermath.  Metallica edged out Megadeth on the strength of bonus material, Anthrax did okay and Slayer should have broken up when Jeff Hanneman died.  For real, all coming back with another album did for them was...well, make them money and allow them to keep touring and making more money, so there's that.  But more importantly, by releasing "Repentless", they dropped from two to three on my completely arbitrary opinion based blog series status ranking system!  Surely, that can't have been worth a couple million bucks?

Anyhow, I'm getting the feeling that rock music in general is going to need to evolve into something completely different or call it quits altogether.  Rock has had its 60 year run just like jazz did before it, and if it doesn't come up with something soon, it will fade away from the public consciousness, only to return in Gap commercials in the 2040…

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 172

Anthrax "Impaled" (2016) VS Megadeth "Dystopia" (2016) VS Metallica "Atlas, Rise!" (2016) VS Slayer "Jihad" (Live from Sofia, Bulgaria) (2010)

Unfortunately, Anthrax drew the short straw here, as "Impaled" is a middling intro that, on top of being a bit of a non-song, goes on a hair too long for its own good.

"Dystopia" is a solid, upbeat fist-pumper that was a no-brainer to make the first single off the album of the same name.  It may seem a little milquetoast for the first half, but once the "single" part falls away, it reveals a banger in the back half that makes you remember why you like this stuff in the first place.  It'll take more than one listen to realize how cool this song is, but on play two or three you'll be nodding your head with a pleased scowl on your face.

My first impression of "Atlas, Rise!" was "This is the most average Metallica song ever."  Like if you took all the Met…

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 178

Anthrax "Suzerain" (2016) VS Megadeth "Conquer Or Die!" (2016) VS Metallica "ManUNkind" (2016) VS Slayer "Cast The First Stone" (2015)

"Suzerain" is your pentennial reminder that Charlie Bennante don't fuck around.  Definitely the most fiery song on "For All Kings", and probably the closest to the old Anthrax as we're going to get ever again.  Bang your head in reflection.

"Conquer Or Die!" is more old school, though whether that works for or against it is up to you.  It's the three minute instrumental interlude.  This one is...fine.  Honestly, it's better than fine when compared to the song I have to review next, so I shan't complain too loudly.  But it is a song you wouldn't exactly miss if it fell off the face of the planet either.

"ManUNkind" was the point where I stopped giving "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct" the benefit of the doubt and started dreading the fact that I h…