Skip to main content


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)'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


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.


Popular posts from this blog


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…


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…


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…