Skip to main content


Match 080:

Alice In Chains "Killing Yourself" (1988)
Nirvana "Milk It" (Live) (1994)
Pearl Jam "Cropduster" (2002)
Soundgarden "Burden In My Hand" (1996)

"Killing Yourself" is better than "I Can't Have You Blues", but it falls back below the line of "ready for prime time".  It sounds like a B-Side, but it's a decent B-Side.  It has some guts and Layne Staley is getting his "Come on, fuckers!  Make some noise!" frontman swagger on.  This whole demo is so unlike the rest of their catalogue in how rock and roll it is.

"Milk It" (Live) is one of only three (or possibly four) commercially released tracks by Nirvana that were recorded in the year 1994.  This one was on January 7th to be precise, emanating from the Seattle Center Arena.  This, being a three piece band trying to replicate the wall of brutality the original achieved, falls short of the "In Utero" version, but it does as good a job as they could manage.

With a title like "Cropduster", I was expecting a wet fart of a song.  I mean...the lyrics talk about "Light green to green, dark green to brown..." and I thought I heard "This was an accident" in the chorus it shart week?  (No.  The lyric is "This world's an accident" and the colors refer to plant life and soil, but my juvenile interpretation is more fun than the bog standard Pearl Jam song we have to analyze.)  The song's not bad, but without reading the lyrics, I would never have thought anything of merit was here for the gleaning, and after that, barely just.

I'm not quite sure if "Burden In My Hand" is the best song on "Down On The Upside" or not, but it's gotta be top two or three.  Certainly the most enduring one.  This song could still get play on rock radio today (and probably does every once in awhile).  Knowing now that "Down On The Upside" only sold 1.6 million and looking back on what music, specifically rock, did going forward, I don't know how much longer Soundgarden had to be popular if they'd stayed together.  I think people wouldn't revere them as much now, especially if they put out some bullshit like "Sweet Sunshower" (Chris Cornell's solo single from 1999).  Pearl Jam started to slide right around the same time and Jerry Cantrell's solo shit didn't do as well either.  Because Pearl Jam didn't self-destruct in spectacular fashion, we got to see what would have been the natural life cycle of a grunge band going the distance.  Not to say Pearl Jam isn't revered, but people seem to be more passionate about the three bands that broke up in the 90's than the grizzled vets still slugging it out.

Anyway, "Burden In My Hand" is about half way between "Dusty" and "Spoonman" but without any of the weird time tricks.  It also uses some of the same chords as "Head Down" from "Superunknown".  It's a really good mid-paced acoustic/electric radio single.  Song craft counts for something.

"Burden In My Hand": 4
"Killing Yourself": 3
"Milk It" (Live): 2
"Cropduster": 1


Alice In Chains: 211
Soundgarden: 209
Pearl Jam: 196
Nirvana: 184

Moving right along...


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…


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…


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…