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 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…