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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 095

Match 095:

Alice In Chains "Rooster" (Live) (1993)
Nirvana "Beans" (1986-88)
Pearl Jam "Severed Hand" (2006)
Soundgarden "Non-State Actor" (2012)

Man, if they played this after "Love, Hate, Love", I would've fallen asleep.  This isn't a particularly good version, a little slower than before and with the quiet parts randomly punctuated with out of place tom hits.

"Beans" is from a group of 4-track recordings done at Kurt Cobain's home between 1986 and 1988.  The only songs anyone's heard of from this group were "About A Girl" and (of course) "Polly".  (I swear, that song's like a bad penny.)  The song in question has high pitched voices that sound like cartoon characters fighting, then the vocals are sung in the same high pitched, warped voice and holy SHIT he slurs the word "naked" so much I had to look it up to make sure it wasn't a different N-Word.  This is the worst drek I've reviewed in all 95 matches so far.

"Severed Hand" takes its time, but becomes a bouncy classic rock number, all the while keeping a positive attitude.  It manages to do all this while not feeling weak; it's not jumping down your throat, but it's not watered down either.  It achieves a balancing act few songs can: middle of the road, but not boring.  Especially once the solo kicks in, things get frenetic.

The opening riff of "Non-State Actor" is straight out of the Incubus playbook.  The only difference is the half time and throwing in a weird measure of like 11/8 or something.  This is still more Audioslave than Soundgarden, but it's not bad either...There's just nothing to say about it.  It's got a lot of interesting things in it, like hammond organ stings, acrobatic guitar work, a decent foundation...why don't I like this song?  It does nothing for me.  Proof positive that even something made entirely of quality ingredients doesn't necessarily guarantee it will be greater than the sum of its parts.

"Severed Hand": 4
"Non-State Actor": 3
"Rooster" (Live): 2
"Beans": 1

TOTALS:

Soundgarden: 251
Alice In Chains: 249
Pearl Jam: 235
Nirvana: 216

Even with an inferior formula, you can still be a better brand if your competition has no idea what it's doing.  Soundgarden re-takes the lead.  And holy CRAP "Pearl Jam" is killing it so far.  In fact, Pearl Jam hasn't scored below a 3 in the last five matches.  Not too shabby.  Let's see how this drama unfolds...

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