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Match 021:

Alice In Chains "Down In A Hole" (1992)
Nirvana "Lounge Act" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town" (1993)
Soundgarden "Incessant Mace" (1988)

[Quick note: Apparently the first pressing of "Dirt" had "Down In A Hole" at the end of the album, between "Angry Chair" and "Would?".  I guess I've always had a second or third pressing so that's the order we do it in.]

"Down In A Hole" is one of the songs I'm the most sick of in this whole series, but I still think it's all right.  Objectively, it's a well put together song, it's got better lyrics than a lot of shit we've already covered, and if you can pretend you've never heard the thing before (or if you haven't heard it in about five years) you can pretend to enjoy it like you haven't heard it more times than you ever needed to.  It is perhaps the most perfect example of a grunge ballad of all time.

Whereas "Lounge Act" is a deep cut from "Nevermind" that I couldn't even remember how it sounded until I heard the opening bass line.  Still not sure why it's called "Lounge Act" even after reading the lyrics.  It almost feels like the song is drunk (or just the narrator, maybe) and as the thing goes, it gets more belligerent until it spends all its energy and crashes at the end.  It's kind of nifty how it does that.

Unlike "Down In A Hole" being the archetypal grunge ballad, "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town" is a ballad that just happens to be played by a "grunge" band.  It's a lot more positive, for one.  The song is about meeting someone you haven't seen in a dog's age and wearing reminiscence like a warm blanket.  Kind of how neat it is to run into somebody and light up that familiar part of your brain.  Even with the refrain "Hearts and thoughts, they fade," it's not mourning the past like "Down In A Hole"; it's acknowledging entropy, but with a huge "but" attached.  These things fade, but will always matter, if only to those that experience them.

"Incessant Mace" is some jammy bullshit, and Soundgarden should thank their lucky stars that "Ultramega OK" has been put out of its misery(an album they weren't 100% happy with, hence the title "It's really really super...OK").  Yes, this album was one of the first nominees for the "Best Metal Performance" Grammy in 1990 (It lost to Metallica's "One", which is one of two non-albums out of five nominees in the category, so...what the fuck kind of award was this?)  Anyway, "Louder Than Love" starts tomorrow, so maybe they can pick themselves up off the floor and start collecting some 2's at least.

"Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town": 4
"Lounge Act": 3
"Down In A Hole": 2
"Incessant Mace": 1


Pearl Jam: 71
Alice In Chains: 55
Nirvana: 53
Soundgarden: 31

Match 022 tomorrow!


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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.