Skip to main content

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 038

Match 038:

Alice In Chains "Grind" (1995)
Nirvana "Mexican Seafood" (1992)
Pearl Jam "Sometimes" (1996)
Soundgarden "Somewhere" (1991)

As a "comeback" song, "Grind" could use a little work.  Not planning the funeral before the body dies fits Alice In Chains's shtick, but looking back it's painfully ironic.  One of the guys singing that lyric has been dead for fifteen years, and this wound up being their last album for about the same amount of time.  But shtick also seems to fit this song.  It kind of feels like a too-perfect distillation of the band's archetypes with a catchy, sun-shiny chorus to add to the feeling that this was...calculated.  And given this came out in late '95, we'd already seen a bunch of grunge bands try to cash in/out by then.  I didn't even buy this album until my folks signed me up for Columbia House in 1998 and I got 12 CDs for a penny.  Something about it put me off and I never really gave it a chance.

"Mexican Seafood" is a halfway decent punk grunge song nearly as sloppy as its subject matter.  I can barely make out the lyrics (and honestly think its more fun if I don't look them up) but he says something about diarrhea.

"Sometimes" is a VERY understated way to open up a rock album.  And you can already tell that Eddie Vedder's relentless vocal stylings were starting to catch up to him.  His shit cracks.  As an opener it's questionable at best, but as a song in a vacuum it's not bad.

"Somewhere" is the necessary mid-paced air brakes after the last two blistering jams.  It pulls the proceedings into a slingshot orbit around the moon, then sends the listener firing back to Earth.  It's got a fairly catchy chorus but with weird word choices that prevent it from really getting deep in there, but it's not a bad little tune.

In spite of what I said, "Grind" may be the most Alice In Chains-y song that ever Alice In Chains'd (and cynically constructed to do so), but if I didn't like Alice In Chains, I wouldn't be doing this, so...wash.

"Grind": 4
"Somewhere": 3
"Sometimes": 2
"Mexican Seafood": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 114
Alice In Chains: 104
Nirvana: 86
Soundgarden: 78

It's here where I should point out the chronological gap.  Pearl Jam is already in a time after Metallica headlined Lollapalooza.  Grunge was dead.  Soundgarden is only a few months removed from first playing Lollapalooza.  Grunge was about to become mainstream for the first time.  To keep the sequencing straight, this is how I had to do it; I couldn't help that "Screaming Life" came out four years before "Ten".  This was bound to happen.  But it does make things a little weird.  I mean, this whole thing is weird; for the period between 1997 and 2009, Pearl Jam is the only one of these four bands that was still active.  So if things are starting to seem a bit skewed, well, they're only gonna get weirder from here.  I hope you continue along with me on this journey.

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 GRUNGE MATCH - Conclusion

This has certainly been a heck of a thing.

Writing this started out as a labor of love to a subgenre of rock and roll that came along at the perfect time for me (both when I was entering middle school in the bottom 5 of the popularity pecking order and when I started buying albums at the impressionable age of 11).  It obviously took a long time to put together: August 29th, 2016 is when I began planning, May 24th is when I wrote the last entry, the wee hours of August 1st, 2017 is when I finished proofreading and uploading the entries to the blog with video links, and here I am typing these words on August 15th.

The elephant in the room is this genre seems to be built on death.  Three of the four frontmen of these bands are dead, one of which occurred during the run of this series.  (Shouts to Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr as well.  R.I.P.)  On top of that, Pearl Jam only exists because the lead singer of Mother Love Bone died, causing that band to break up.  If you go down the nex…

THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 185

Anthrax "Vice Of The People" (2016) VS Megadeth "Melt The Ice Away" (2016) VS Metallica "When A Blind Man Cries" (2016) VS Slayer "Pride In Prejudice" (2015)

"Vice Of The People" is the Japanese bonus track for "For All Kings".  Aaaand it starts with that doofy march beat.  Wonderful.  The lyrics don't do it any favors in the "I should take this seriously" department either.  And like most of the songs I've slagged in this Update process, it's not bad.  It's just so "...whatever."

"Melt The Ice Away" is a Budgie cover that was the Spotify exclusive bonus track for "Dystopia".  It's funny how the original Budgie tracks are often much softer than the bands that cover them and turn them into fucking barnburners.  This song sounds a little goofy in the vocals and lyrics department, but knowing it's a Budgie song, it totally gets a pass.  And unlike some covers of Budgi…