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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 002

Match 002:

Alice In Chains "Man In The Box" (1990)
Nirvana "Floyd The Barber" (1989)
Pearl Jam "Even Flow" (1991)
Soundgarden "Entering" (1987)

"Man In The Box" is a good song.  I can't really think or feel much more about it than that, since for 25 FUCKING YEARS I've heard it one out of every four times I've turned on the radio.  With repetition anything loses meaning, but what helps "Man In The Box"'s case is it's a really solid pop metal song.  The chorus is powerful, the melody is infectious, it has groove, the solo is on point...it's objectively well-crafted.  And I liked it to begin with, so even if I'm sick to death of it, it's still a song I can sit through if necessary, and even wring a little bit of joy out of even if the impulse is to block it out just like any other sensory input that our brains have trained us to ignore.

"Floyd The Barber" is menacing, but I can't tell what the hell it's about.  Cobain is mush-mouthed as ever, so I looked up the lyrics.  IT'S ABOUT BEING RAPED IN THE BARBERSHOP OF MAYBERRY R.F.D.  I'm not making this up!  The song's okay, but it is not in the same class as today's offerings from Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.

Speaking of songs that you've heard a MILLION times, holy SHIT it's "Even Flow".  Maybe not as prevalent as "Man In The Box" has proven to be, it's still out there and back in the 90's got more play than the former by quite a bit, lemme tellya.  I think because I like the production better and because I haven't heard it as much in the last decade or so I'm able to get more enjoyment out of it than I am "Man In The Box".  Plus, there's a bit of a quirky arrangement, so there's more points in its favor.

"Entering" has a laid back yet tense intro that leads to fiery verses, yet never has much distortion or crunch, and as such seems more like a Pearl Jam song, if not for Chris Cornell's unmistakable delivery.  It really does sound like grunge from a time before grunge, which in a way it was.  But of course, grunge was a regional thing years before it was popular.

In spite of all the points I gave "Even Flow", and in spite of how sick I am and always will be of the thing, "Man In The Box" is just the cooler song.  Gotta give it the win.

"Man In The Box": 4
"Even Flow": 3
"Entering": 2
"Floyd The Barber": 1

TOTALS:

Alice In Chains: 7
Pearl Jam: 7
Soundgarden: 4
Nirvana: 2

Match 003 tomorrow!

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