Skip to main content


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


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


Popular posts from this blog


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…


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…


Anthrax "Vice Of The People" (2016) VS Megadeth "Melt The Ice Away" (2016) VS Metallica "When A Blind Man Cries" (2016) VS Slayer "Pride In Prejudice" (2015)

"Vice Of The People" is the Japanese bonus track for "For All Kings".  Aaaand it starts with that doofy march beat.  Wonderful.  The lyrics don't do it any favors in the "I should take this seriously" department either.  And like most of the songs I've slagged in this Update process, it's not bad.  It's just so "...whatever."

"Melt The Ice Away" is a Budgie cover that was the Spotify exclusive bonus track for "Dystopia".  It's funny how the original Budgie tracks are often much softer than the bands that cover them and turn them into fucking barnburners.  This song sounds a little goofy in the vocals and lyrics department, but knowing it's a Budgie song, it totally gets a pass.  And unlike some covers of Budgi…