Skip to main content

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 127

Match 127:

Alice N' Chains "Lip Lock Rock" (1987)
Nirvana "Seasons In The Sun" (1993)
Pearl Jam "Future Days" (2013)
Soundgarden "A Splice Of Space Jam" (1996)

In 1984, a band called Sleze auditioned a new singer named Layne Elmer.  Elmer would later change his name to Staley, but you've probably already figured that out.  What you probably didn't know is the history of the band.  Johnny Barcolas played guitar, James Bergstrom played drums, and later members Nick Pollock and Jim Sheppard would join on guitar and bass respectively, but not necessarily concurrently.  (This is further complicated because Barcolas left, then rejoined as a bass player at one point.)

The band decided in 1986 to rename themselves Alice N' Chains.  (I'm not kidding.)  They recorded two demos, with the lineup of Layne Staley on vocals, Nick Pollock on guitar, Johnny Barcolas on bass and James Bergstrom on drums.  This demo is where today's song comes from, but before we get into that, let's follow the trajectory of this band: Alice N' Chains broke up in 1987, and by then Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell were roommates.  They were in a funk band which broke up and Layne joined Cantrell's other band which already had Sean Kinney and Mike Starr, they repurposed the old name and the rest is history.  But what happened to the other members of Sleze and Alice N' Chains, you ask?  Well:

James Bergstrom was a founding member of another Seattle band which formed in 1990 and existed all the way until 2008.  Johnny Barcolas joined that band as a guitarist in 1991, and they released their debut album in 1994.  They wouldn't be well known outside of Seattle until their breakthrough hit "Soft" in 1998, from their self-titled album "Second Coming".

Guitarist Nick Pollack became the lead singer and guitar player for My Sister's Machine, another 90's alternative band of moderate success.  Jim Sheppard went on to play bass for a band called Sanctuary, and when they called it quits in 1992, some members went on to form the prog metal group Nevermore.  They then reformed Sanctuary after most of them got fired from or left Nevermore, and that's where they are now.

Anyway, the song is the worst kind of glam metal/funk crossbreeding cheese you can imagine.  The vocals are super hair metal and the slap bass is insufferably 80's...shit, this whole thing is insufferably 80's.  It's got a breakdown with vocal samples intended to sound like 80's rap or Max Headroom or something, it's got a scat breakdown going into the last chorus, and HOLY SHIT I FORGOT ALL ABOUT THE HORN SECTION IN THE LAST CHORUS.  I lost it at that; I couldn't help it.  All in all, it's pretty glorious.

Nirvana goes out with a whimper, laying a turd with a cover of "Seasons In The Sun" recorded in Rio '93.

"Future Days" is every generic lighter waving ballad you've heard in the last 35 years that has the nerve to start getting country after the first chorus.  Seriously, it's not even Pearl Jam anymore except for the voice.

To the best of my knowledge, "A Splice Of Space Jam" has nothing to do with the Michael Jordan/Looney Toons movie of the same vintage, but that could have something to do with the title, since it's a bullshit jam session that happened in 1996 and somehow got released as the B-Side to "Blow Up The Outside World".  Seriously, what a wet fart to go out on.

I.  Cannot.  FUCKING.  Belive this:

"Lip Lock Rock": 4
"A Splice Of Space Jam": 3
"Future Days": 2
"Seasons In The Sun": 1

TOTALS:

Soundgarden: 343
Alice In Chains: 325
Pearl Jam: 321
Nirvana: 279

And there you have it!  The Grunge Match has drawn to a close.  Come back tomorrow for wrap-up and analysis!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Update Wrap-Up

Well, The Big Four Song Challenge Series Update has drawn to a close, and here we are in the aftermath.  Metallica edged out Megadeth on the strength of bonus material, Anthrax did okay and Slayer should have broken up when Jeff Hanneman died.  For real, all coming back with another album did for them was...well, make them money and allow them to keep touring and making more money, so there's that.  But more importantly, by releasing "Repentless", they dropped from two to three on my completely arbitrary opinion based blog series status ranking system!  Surely, that can't have been worth a couple million bucks?

Anyhow, I'm getting the feeling that rock music in general is going to need to evolve into something completely different or call it quits altogether.  Rock has had its 60 year run just like jazz did before it, and if it doesn't come up with something soon, it will fade away from the public consciousness, only to return in Gap commercials in the 2040…

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 172

Anthrax "Impaled" (2016) VS Megadeth "Dystopia" (2016) VS Metallica "Atlas, Rise!" (2016) VS Slayer "Jihad" (Live from Sofia, Bulgaria) (2010)

Unfortunately, Anthrax drew the short straw here, as "Impaled" is a middling intro that, on top of being a bit of a non-song, goes on a hair too long for its own good.

"Dystopia" is a solid, upbeat fist-pumper that was a no-brainer to make the first single off the album of the same name.  It may seem a little milquetoast for the first half, but once the "single" part falls away, it reveals a banger in the back half that makes you remember why you like this stuff in the first place.  It'll take more than one listen to realize how cool this song is, but on play two or three you'll be nodding your head with a pleased scowl on your face.

My first impression of "Atlas, Rise!" was "This is the most average Metallica song ever."  Like if you took all the Met…

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 178

Anthrax "Suzerain" (2016) VS Megadeth "Conquer Or Die!" (2016) VS Metallica "ManUNkind" (2016) VS Slayer "Cast The First Stone" (2015)

"Suzerain" is your pentennial reminder that Charlie Bennante don't fuck around.  Definitely the most fiery song on "For All Kings", and probably the closest to the old Anthrax as we're going to get ever again.  Bang your head in reflection.

"Conquer Or Die!" is more old school, though whether that works for or against it is up to you.  It's the three minute instrumental interlude.  This one is...fine.  Honestly, it's better than fine when compared to the song I have to review next, so I shan't complain too loudly.  But it is a song you wouldn't exactly miss if it fell off the face of the planet either.

"ManUNkind" was the point where I stopped giving "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct" the benefit of the doubt and started dreading the fact that I h…