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Match 114:

Alice In Chains "Black Gives Way To Blue" (2009)
Nirvana "Curmudgeon" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Force Of Nature" (2009)
Soundgarden "Live To Rise" (2012)

"Black Gives Way To Blue" is a piano ballad sendoff to this album, and in a way, Layne Staley.  With help from Elton John on the ivories, Alice In Chains tries with this piece to pay homage to and simultaneously move on from their former front man.  It's got pathos to it, especially in the piano line in the second verse.  It's a fitting end to an album that had to crawl out from an impossibly large shadow to earn its existence, and much like the life it honors, it ends abruptly.

"Curmudgeon" is a less good version of "Oh, The Guilt".  It's got the same attitude, but the execution isn't quite as sharp, and it's almost identical in structure.  But it's still got it's moments of brazen noise rock goodness.

For a song called "Force Of Nature", it sure sounds a bit restrained.  The opening drum riff, though real, sounds like a Casio loop.  It's a serviceable dad rock song, but it's not got a lot to remark on.  Decent performance from Vedder, though.  And the middle section has some guts without having to be hard, achieved through pure guitar melody.  Not the worst.

"Live To Rise" was the first "new" new Soundgarden since the 90's, and it wasn't exactly auspicious.  It was on the first Avengers soundtrack, and it was kind of weak sauce.  It's incredibly plain, more like a Chris Cornell solo track than a Soundgarden joint.  Even Audioslave would have kicked the shit out of this.

"Black Gives Way To Blue": 4
"Force Of Nature": 3
"Curmudgeon": 2
"Live To Rise": 1


Soundgarden: 311
Alice In Chains: 294
Pearl Jam: 286
Nirvana: 248

Tomorrow, "Backspacer" gets sent packing, and we dig up some Dinosaurs.  Stay tuned.


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