Skip to main content

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 053

Match 053:

Alice In Chains "Sludge Factory" (Unplugged) (1996)
Nirvana "tourette's" (1993)
Pearl Jam "No Way" (1998)
Soundgarden "Superunknown" (1994)

Layne seems more awake for this one.  He even cracks a few jokes before the song starts.  It's the first inkling that this band is alive playing in a live setting.  It's also the first song on this "Unplugged" album that wasn't originally an acoustic number.  They manage to keep the swagger if not the heaviness of the original.  The real interesting aspect is on the album version, Staley's voice is so layered and effected up that it sounds post-human.  This is one guy singing the thing.  And he goes for the high harmony line on the chorus, which makes for a shaky, cracking delivery, but despite being jarring isn't necessarily the worst.

"tourette's" is random on purpose.  It's short, it's noisy...and that's it.  It's 90 seconds of anarchy, and as close to punk as any of these bands got after 1991.

If "No Way" was played clean tone, it'd be some lighter-waving bullshit, but because it's got electricity and wah petals going on, it's got some life to it.  Definitely more groove oriented than Pearl Jam are normally, but they handle it well.  Points for taking it somewhere new, guys.  (New for them, anyway.)  It almost reminds me of a more happy go lucky "Blow Up The Outside World" in a way.

In an album full of absolute dynamite, the title track to "Superunknown" can feel like forgotten ordinance that fell of the cart on the way to the battle.  It's not as heavy as "Mailman", "4th Of July" or "Let Me Drown".  It's not as weird as "My Wave", "Spoonman" or "Half".  On first blush its verses may seem a little plain.  But it makes up for it with a chorus that doesn't quit.  That may not be obvious on first blush either, but after a couple listens, believe me it's there.

"Superunknown": 4
"Sludge Factory" (Unplugged): 3
"tourette's": 2
"No Way": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 144
Alice In Chains: 138
Soundgarden: 127
Nirvana: 121

Tomorrow, we discuss one of several pieces that could be considered Kurt Cobain's swansong: "All Apologies".  (And three other songs.)

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…