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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 120

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

TOTALS:

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

And then there were seven!

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