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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 023

Match 023:

Alice In Chains "Rooster" (1992)
Nirvana "On A Plain" (1991)
Pearl Jam "Indifference" (1993)
Soundgarden "Hands All Over" (1989)

"Rooster" is almost on that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" level of "I AM SICK TO DEATH OF THIS SONG.  WHY AM I STILL HEARING IT?", but not quite.  Like a sliver below.  But I think it's a better song than "Teen Spirit", because it has more raison d'etre, more pathos and a clear narrative.  Also, I found myself singing along to the first verse while I set this file up to type, so it's still a song that I can appreciate, but it's still a song I'll turn the channel on 90% of the time.

"On A Plain" has an interesting refrain: "I love myself better than you."  That's kind of messed up considering two and a half years after this album came out, the line's author committed suicide.  If he loved himself more than anyone else, how misanthropic and miserable must he've been?  Of course that's just one way to look at it, and you can tell I'm stalling, because "On A Plain" is kind of the same song you've hear a bunch on the back half of "Nevermind"

"Indifference" is one of the best "close your eyes in the darkness and sigh" kind of songs you can ever vibe to.  It's a far better finisher than "Release" was for "Ten" and in fact fits the subject matter better: "Vs." was Eddie Vedder feeling tremendous pressure to follow up a massive hit while a) His band wasn't so stressed and kind of wondering what dude's problem was and b) recorded in a compound in relative isolation where Vedder slept in his truck or the sauna during the sessions.  He hated that place.  And "Indifference" is the end result: You throw your passion against a wall until you reach the point where you know you have to give up because you've given everything and you have to let the emptiness take you.  Emptiness doesn't automatically mean you'll never be filled again, but when you had so much passion, maybe you'll never reach the same level again.  But that may be okay in its own way, since having that much passion can lead to your own destruction...Just a thought.

"Hands All Over" might be the first real Soundgarden song we've heard so far.  It's got that muddy groove, Chris Cornell is serving up a powerful, lightning storm of a performance (high and cutting through everything)...It's good to hear this band finally becoming itself. 

"Indifference": 4
"Hands All Over": 3
"Rooster": 2
"On A Plain": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 77
Alice In Chains: 58
Nirvana: 58
Soundgarden: 37

And we have our first tie!  Let's see where this goes tomorrow in Match 024!

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