Skip to main content

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 105

Match 105:

Alice In Chains "Check My Brain" (2009)
Nirvana "Opinion" (1990)
Pearl Jam "Gonna See My Friend" (2009)
Soundgarden "Eyelid's Mouth" (2012)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers made any band ever singing the word "California" ever again uncool to a painful degree circa 1999, so with that in mind, plus a lazy sounding riff, "Check My Brain" had a tough hill to climb for me to like it.  I eventually came around, because that bendy riff is actually nifty for how simple it is, but this song isn't nearly as fun as it was when I first heard it eight years ago.  It's still catchy and has life, but it's not as anthemic as I remember.  Time has sapped some of its strength and it doesn't punch like it used to.

"Opinion" is from almost exactly a year later than the previous session, emanating from The Boy Meets Girls show on KAOS 89.3 in Olympia, Washington.  It's a solo acoustic performance by Kurt Cobain.  The tape quality is compromised in parts, but it's in tact enough to not detract from the experience.  Cobain's voice is enough to detract from it though, and it being a less than two minute, half-baked idea doesn't help its case either.  This could've been something if polished, but even then it wouldn't have been one of Nirvana's better songs.

Holy shit, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains are in the same year for the first time.  Look at that.  Anyway, "Gonna See My Friend" is how the band chose to kick off their 2009 album "Backspacer".  It's as straight ahead a rocker as you can expect from Pearl Jam and unlike more of their generic early 00's upbeat faire, it actually rocks.  Especially in the chorus.  This song has some guts, which I was not expecting from "Backspacer".  I listened to samples of this album on iTunes when it came out and remembered being turned off by what I heard.  I never came back to any of it, and once the single disappeared off radio, that was it; I haven't heard anything from this album since.  If the rest of it is in this ballpark, Pearl Jam are gonna be in a good spot.  [side note: Pearl Jam sponsored a turtle in National Geographic's "Great Turtle Race" and they named it Backspacer.  So there's that.]

"Eyelid's Mouth" is a song dying to be heavier.  It's aching to be just a little more gritty.  It just needs a subtle push up the rock fader to make it bite more and they'd be set.  Instead, it's sort of frustrating.  It's a good, slightly slow groove but just doesn't go in as hard as it needs to.  The notes and even the playing are all absolutely correct, but something in the tone undercuts the attitude that would've made this song magnificent.  Just a little more distortion.  Some CRUNCH for God's sake!  You guys used to know how to do this!  Still, in spite of everything holding it back, "Eyelid's Mouth" is the most interesting song here.

"Eyelid's Mouth": 4
"Gonna See My Friend": 3
"Check My Brain": 2
"Opinion": 1

TOTALS:

Soundgarden: 287
Alice In Chains: 269
Pearl Jam: 261
Nirvana: 233

Tomorrow is Soundgarden's last pure album track before we jump into the "Echo Of Miles" boxed set.  Can Pearl Jam keep pulling rabbits out of their hat and make a comeback?  Will Alice In Chains steady their ship?  Will Soundgarden's B-Side material be any good?  It's still (mostly) anybody's Match.

Comments

  1. I dunno man, 1:30 in the Pearl Jam, just turns into a mumble fest. Will tomorrow's post have an afterward about the Linkin Park situation?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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…