Skip to main content

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 034

Match 034:

Alice In Chains "No Excuses" (1994)
Nirvana "Son Of A Gun" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Better Man" (1994)
Soundgarden "Outshined" (1991)

MAN there's some stiff competition.  "No Excuses" is one of Alice In Chains's biggest hits, and...just listen to it!  It's catchy as fuck!  The lyrics are so-so, but the vocal harmony makes up for any flaw you can find in it.  The contrast of having Staley bust in with the chorus after Cantrell sings the verses is pure icing.  The lead work's damn tasty too.

"Son Of A Gun", decent little tune it is, has such a tough hill to climb today.  It'll get your head bobbing and put a smile on your face.  I can kind of hear an analog tape flaw in the recording during the chorus when the cymbals get crazy.  It's subtle, but you can really tell this was AAD.

For all the FUCKING times I've heard this song (hell, in 1995 alone)...I still love "Better Man".  I don't know why I'm such a sucker for it.  It must hit that sweet spot of nostalgia, angst and not quite conventional note choice.  Also, despite being a love song, it doesn't get too cheesy.  It's rll, rll gud, you guys.  No matter how sick we all are of it, it's so well put together.  I'm glad they finally decided to record it instead of leaving it off for being "too commercial".  (It also helps I keep thinking this song is over five minutes, but is only four and a half.  Time flies.)

"Outshined" is also one of my favorite Soundgarden songs.  It may be the first Soundgarden song I ever heard.  I can almost guarantee it was on Headbanger's Ball.  If "Rusty Cage" was the kick in the door to make you pay attention to the album, "Outshined" is the balls on the table moment to let you know they are NOT fucking around.  Hell, this might be the perfect Soundgarden song.  It has enough of their early qualities of odd time and harsh grit combined with the harmony and songwriting chops that were yet to come.

So now we know who gets mystified:

"Outshined": 4
"Better Man": 3
"No Excuses": 3
"Son Of A Gun": 2

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 105
Alice In Chains: 91
Nirvana: 80
Soundgarden: 66

It was an impossible decision between "Better Man" and "No Excuses" for second place.  I really couldn't decide after listening to them both.  I thought the fight would be between "Better Man" and "Outshined" but that was no contest.  So there you go: three great songs and one pretty good one.  I'm diggin' it, and I hope you are too.

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…