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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 097

Match 097:

Alice In Chains "Junkhead" (Live) (1993)
Nirvana "Clean Up Before She Comes" (1986-88)
Pearl Jam "Parachutes" (2006)
Soundgarden "A Thousand Days Before" (2012)

This is the last of the Glasgow songs from the "Live" album, and I'm kind of sad to see it go because that performance sounded pretty on.  This has Alice In Chains sounding the most metal they've ever sounded.  The guitar tone, the palm muted arpeggios where there were none before, Layne Staley's gruff, guttural delivery...this shit hard.  It adds life to a song that's supposed to be morose, and it may be missing the point by doing that, but dude it's a gnarled take I didn't see coming.

"Clean Up Before She Comes" is likewise the last song from the 1986-88 Kurt Cobain home recordings.  And again, it's the beginnings of something that was never returned to.  It could have been a single; it's catchy and even the vocal harmonies are all right, which is saying a LOT for Nirvana.  It could have been a cool little departure for them, but not too far from their norm.  Even this solo recording isn't too shabby; it's a mostly formed idea.

"Parachutes" is a well played if limp acoustic ballad.  It's...fine, I guess, but there's not much to it.  It doesn't evoke a response, it doesn't have poignance to it...it just seems to be there to put "quiet song" there in the track order.  And it's...not the worst, but it's Meh with a capital M.

"A Thousand Days Before" starts with some Mid-Eastern shit, which usually doesn't bode well for Western rock acts, usually because they're not trying to sound Mid-Eastern, they're trying to sound like The Beatles when they tried to sound Mid-Eastern.  Thankfully it launches into a "Down On The Upside" caliber or better bounce before that gets tedious.  I'd say better once it gets to the chorus; it's definitely more lively.  And the sitar coming back in the middle doesn't sound out of place or drown out the rest of the song, so its placement is ultimately tasteful.  This song has a lot of nice little acrobatics to it when you sit down and pay attention.

"A Thousand Days Before": 4
"Junkhead" (Live): 3
"Clean Up Before She Comes": 2
"Parachutes": 1

TOTALS:

Soundgarden: 259
Alice In Chains: 254
Pearl Jam: 239
Nirvana: 219

Dammit!  I'm sorry, Pearl Jam!  I didn't mean to jinx you!  Oh well.  Damage is done.  Rest of the album'll suck now.  (For all our sakes, I hope not...)  Next, we go on to a one off track from the "Live" album recorded in Japan, and a one off Nirvana studio session from 1988.  Oh yeah, and "Pearl Jam" & "King Animal" continue to do their thing.

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