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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 037

Match 037:

Alice In Chains "Swing On This" (1994)
Nirvana "Downer" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me (aka 'Stupid Mop')" (1994)
Soundgarden "Face Pollution" (1991)

"Swing On This" is as close to electric or metal as "Jar Of Flies" gets with acoustic, swingy verses paired with a grittier sounding, wah laden choruses and Layne Staley doing his spooky vocal harmony thing over the top.  Alice In Chains may not have been the greatest songwriters every time, but holy balls did they know how to create atmosphere. 

"Downer" is a hard-charging "fuck you" of a song.  It's not even two minutes, but it doesn't need to be any longer to knock your ass down.  It's one of their hardest songs for sure, and one of their most straight to the point.  (Astute listeners will note that this is the same exact version tacked onto the Geffen records re-release of "Bleach", which is why I didn't cover it there.)

ON THE OTHER HAND...The last track on "Vitalogy" is also the band's first with new drummer Jack Irons (originally of the Red Hot Chili Peppers).  It's literally just a jam that they threw a bunch of disturbing audio samples of interviews conducted by therapists in institutions presumably from the 50's or 60's.  It's the most fucked up thing the band has ever released, it's their longest song (clocking in at 7:43) (yet somehow not their longest song title) and...it's insufferable.  In the early to mid 90's this might have seemed cutting edge or dangerous or something, but now it just sounds like a waste of time.  I never liked it, and I don't think my opinion is likely to ever change.

"Face Pollution", in context with the album, kind of feels like the build up of energy from "Jesus Christ Pose" was the 10,000 or so spins to gain momentum and this is the release that catapults them the fuck over the moon.  It flies out of the chute after a literal "WOOOOOOOO!!!!" from Chris Cornell (which he repeats in the middle amid random horn stabs (!?) and fucked up proggy guitar chops.  This song goes so H.A.M. it winds up pork rinds, and NEVER does it give a FUCK.

"Face Pollution": 4
"Swing On This": 3
"Downer": 2
"Stupid Mop": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 112
Alice In Chains: 100
Nirvana: 85
Soundgarden: 75

Congrats to Alice In Chains for joining the centennial club!  Soundgarden is also only ten points behind Nirvana.  How long until they catch up?  You'll have to keep reading to find out.

Well, that does it for "Vitalogy" and "Jar Of Flies" (and Dave Abruzeze's tenure with Pearl Jam).  Tomorrow we venture into "No Code" and the self-titled "Alice In Chains".  Stay tuned.

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