Skip to main content


Match 120:

Alice In Chains "Lab Monkey" (2013)
Nirvana "Do Re Mi" (1994)
Pearl Jam "Lightning Bolt" (2013)
Soundgarden "Touch Me" (1991)

"Lab Monkey" is musically pedestrian, but just grungy enough to stand out, I guess.  The lyrics are its real strength (which for Alice In Chains is a HUGE shock).  The title is literal: the song is from the point of view of a lab monkey, with a chorus from the point of view of the scientists.  For this album, this is high fucking caliber.  For this matchup, it's mildly interesting.

"Do Re Mi" is Kurt Cobain's attempt to write a late 60's pop song a-la The Byrds or The Mamas & The Papas.  The recording is a solo acoustic demo, and you can only kind of tell it's Cobain singing because he's trying to do something with his voice that's more sunny, yet somehow haunting at the same time (which, when listening to "California Dreaming" is about right).  This is surprisingly good.  It's also unfortunately one of the last songs he ever wrote.

The beginning of "Lightning Bolt" reminds me of a dumbed-down version of "War On The East Coast" by The New Pornographers, but it switches up for a slinky rock chorus that gives it more gravitas.  It's not re-inventing the wheel, but it's well executed.  The piano in the second verse comes out of nowhere, but it's a welcome addition.  The drum line at the end though?  A bit cheesy.

"Touch Me", a B-Side to "Rusty Cage", is not a Doors cover.  It's from a band called Fancy.  It's supposed to be lewd and sexy, but eh, it's kinda just limp.  There is a notable thing about it: it's the one and only professional recording appearance of a woman named Stephanie Barber.  (She's not the one with a Wikipedia page so far as I can tell.)  Stephanie was married to Bruce Fairweather, who was the bass player for Green River and Mother Love Bone.  Bruce was hanging out and got put in charge of writing the lyrics of the song down for Chris Cornell to come and track the next day.  For fun, they had Stephanie do a take of it, and when Cornell heard the playback, he chose to leave her vocal in the song.  It definitely makes the song better than the bland cock rock trying to be sleazy punk it would have been, but either way, it's not my bag.

This was a weird one:

"Do Re Mi": 4
"Lab Monkey": 3
"Lightning Bolt": 2
"Touch Me": 1


Soundgarden: 327
Alice In Chains: 310
Pearl Jam: 302
Nirvana: 261

And then there were seven!


Popular posts from this blog


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…

R.I.P. Chris Cornell

The Grunge Match is suspended indefinitely.

I don't know when it will resume.  This hits way too close to home for way too many reasons.

As far as writing goes, I just did Match 112 Tuesday night.  I have no interest in going back through and making this a love letter to the departed, nor bashing him for tearing our hearts out.  I have no idea when I'll be able to even listen to Soundgarden again, and when I do, it won't be the fucking same so there's no way I can give any kind of objective rating.  Chris Cornell was the soul of that band, the thing that took sludge with a few acrobatic musical flourishes and made it into the hellfire slinging, metal rending monster that it needed to be.

So yeah.  This one hurts.  The man is dead.  The music remains, but is changed forever.  His friends, family and fans are suffering incalculable grief.  There's not much more to say, so silence seems like the best option.


Since dusting off The Big Four Song Challenge Series I got to thinking.  What about the other thrash metal giants out there?  There's always been a debate as to who the next four bands would be on the list.  The two constants are always Testament and Exodus, but nobody can agree who's 5 and who's 6.  Then nobody can agree on who the next two bands would be.  Overkill gets thrown around a lot, but they're not really as big as the two bands I've chosen to fill those slots.

Oh yeah.  Probably should have mentioned.  Though you've probably guessed by the blog post title, I am doing a completely new series of blogs called "The Next Four Song Challenge Series".  Same rules, same set up as before and same INSANE amount of blog posts.  The four bands we're going to be covering are as follows:

Suicidal Tendencies

Why not Overkill?  For one, I could never stand the guy's voice, but all told, Sepultura and Suicidal are bigger h…