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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 093

Match 093:

Alice In Chains "Man In The Box" (Live) (1993)
Nirvana "Pen Cap Chew" (1988)
Pearl Jam "World Wide Suicide" (2006)
Soundgarden "Telephantasm" (2010)

You can tell this is from the same performance as the last one, since the first two measures are the outro drum fills from "Angry Chair" leading directly into "Man In The Box" without breaking stride.  The riff loses a lot of power in the live setting, since it's only one guitar with heavy palm muting.  This performance is still pretty damn good considering a) It's a song so overplayed you can't take it seriously, b) I've never been a huge fan of live recordings, and c) they don't really do anything different.  It's just a more lively version of the original, and I think that's what makes the difference.  It gives it a life it doesn't have on the record.  The studio version goes for atmosphere and this goes for the throat.

Man, this 1988 rehearsal demo was some hot shit.  The back third of "Incesticide" is most of the rest of this session, and yesterday's entry was a decent edition.  It ain't perfect, as the vocals of "Pen Cap Chew" bring it down by being annoying, but it's a pretty heady Nirvana song, with balls and brash the band didn't show quite enough of in my opinion.  It still feels like a bit of an unfinished thought, as it fades out after the second verse, but it's still an interesting one.

"World Wide Suicide" was the lead single from "Pearl Jam".  It sounds like a better version of the numbingly average songs the band were churning out on "Binaural" and "Riot Act".  It's got the edge that was missing while maintaining that middle of the road rock vibe they'd settled into.  And that's not meant as a slam on Pearl Jam; they were occupying a lane they were comfortable in while trying to age gracefully.  This turns back the clock.

Weirdly enough, "The Telephantasm" was an iTunes only bonus track for the release of "Telephantasm".  It was written and recorded during the "Screaming Life" sessions in 1987, then remixed for this project.  It has kind of a cool riff, but Cornell's petulant moaning in place of actual lyrics kills the thing dead for me.

"Man In The Box" (Live): 4
"World Wide Suicide": 3
"Pen Cap Chew": 2
"The Telephantasm": 1

TOTALS:

Alice In Chains: 245
Soundgarden: 244
Pearl Jam: 227
Nirvana: 214

Alice In Chains and Soundgarden seem destined to trade the lead back and forth forever.  We shall see if Pearl Jam can stage a late-period resurgence or if they just got lucky with two hot ones out of the gate (I honestly only listened to this album once about eight years ago, so your guess is as good as mine.)

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