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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 062

Match 062:

Alice In Chains "The Killer Is Me" (1996)
Nirvana "Polly" (Unplugged) (1994)
Pearl Jam "Push Me, Pull Me" (1998)
Soundgarden "Half" (1994)

"The Killer Is Me" was first released on "Alice In Chains Unplugged" and to my knowledge no studio version exists.  This is the first time I've ever heard the song, so this should be an interesting anthropological artifact if nothing else.

The chords are intentionally sour and off key, and I'm ambivalent about that.  It doesn't sound good, but at the same time it kind of works, so points for trying something original.  The lyrics are pretty banal, and the against-the-grain harmony they were going for with intentionally fucked up chords would have benefited from an electric guitar where the distortion might have made it sound cooler, but then again it really sounds like a song written to be played on an acoustic guitar...I'm not really sure what to make of it.  But I enjoyed it for what it was.

"Polly" suffers from the fact that the original was basically Kurt Cobain by himself, but they do add a few touches to make it different: It's a step down, it's a little slower and there's a cello in the background.  Though the cello gives it a slightly fuller sound, it subliminally points out the similarities between itself and "Dumb", which they just played before this.  It also doesn't help that Cobain's vocals are merely okay on this version when compared to the original.

"Push Me, Pull Me" is a beatnik rework of Shawn Mullin's "Rockabye" without a hook.  The music is all through a filter, the vocals are spoken word except some backing harmonies singing the name of the song, for no good reason at all the verses are in odd time...not sure what this is, but it sounds like dreck to me.  Bad Pearl Jam.  You wrote a bad song.  Bad.

"Half", on paper, isn't much better, but somehow it manages to have a) A certain charm in spite of its annoying, clipped, weird to be weird sound and b) The benefit of nostalgia.  Yes, it's a complete throwaway track, but it's a throwaway track on one of the most defining albums of a genre and a time period.  It's also a moment of levity between the skull crushing brutality of "4th Of July" and the soul-scarring starkness of "Like Suicide".  It really depends on your mood whether or not you'd call this a brilliant or shit placement of such a song.  But it's better than whatever the fuck "Push Me, Pull Me" was, so I'll take it!

"The Killer Is Me": 4
"Half": 3
"Polly" (Unplugged): 2
"Push Me, Pull Me": 1

TOTALS:

Pearl Jam: 160
Alice In Chains: 160
Soundgarden: 158
Nirvana: 142

Alice In Chains has tied Pearl Jam!  And Soundgarden is only two points behind!  Tomorrow is a big day, because three things are coming:

The last song on "Superunknown"
The last song on "Yield"
The first song on the next album for Alice In Chains

Why be so coy about that last one?  Well to spice things up, there's more than one way to go, and I'll leave it as a surprise as to which I chose.  Come back tomorrow to see what's going down!

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