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THE GRUNGE MATCH - 106

Match 106:

Alice In Chains "Last Of My Kind" (2009)
Nirvana "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (Boom Box Demo) (1990)
Pearl Jam "Got Some" (2009)
Soundgarden "Rowing" (2012)

"Last Of My Kind" finally has Alice In Chains showing some balls.  (Man that doesn't sound right.  Why was "balls" ever a thing?)  It's only on the chorus but at this point I'll take what I can get.  This song isn't as good as I remembered it either.  It's still fair to midland, but the verses are pretty weak sauce, coupled with some meh lyrics.  The mid section gets pretty dark and I like that.  The simple, slightly too loud to be understated solo is the perfect touch because it's the bruising riffs that we want to hear in that part.  Matter of fact, the whole second half of the song really turns it around, getting a lot more meaty and coming through with some creepy mid-tone wah lead to ride out on.  It almost harkens back to some kind of bastardization of "Dirt" era Alice In Chains covering Metallica's "The Thing That Should Not Be".

This version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" is much better than I anticipated.  Cobain's voice has always been perfect for it, and the lo-fi recording adds an intangible to the proceedings.  I also kind of like that he doesn't go for the belting ending like he does on the "Unplugged In New York" version, because it would have ruined the mood.  I can understand the lyrics better on this one too.  One of the better songs from "With The Lights Out" so far, to be honest.

Pearl Jam try to add some Police-style reggae into the verse of "Got Some".  It's a cliché, but Pearl Jam's never done it so I think they manage to get away with it here.  The song is a dynamo of energy outside the verses, barreling through with a charge I didn't think this band still had in them after hearing everything from "No Code" through "Riot Act".  Vedder's voice continues to improve after the burnout years as well.

"Rowing" brings Soundgarden's album phase to a close.  It's a weird tune with drums manipulated to half speed.  It's got a cool bass line and Cornell's vocals are pretty good, but it's not much of a skeleton we're dealing with here.  And as soon as I was ready to write this song off, the full band comes in at the halfway mark.  It's still decent, but it has the same issues endemic of the rest of "King Animal": It could have, and should have been better.

So then I went to score this one, and I realized: Every one of these songs is completely different.  I had to listen to them all again.  Shit, I listened to "Got Some" three times, which was to its detriment because I got sick of it.  And needless to say, my opinion changed as it went along.  I found, again, in spite of its flaws, the "King Animal" song was the most satisfying.  On paper, these shits are all good, and I think they only suffer from execution.  Still, I find that weird.  It's not like I'm gonna listen to this album...maybe ever again.  But it keeps pulling through in the clutch, even against material that should be, and maybe is, more compelling.  Can't call it, homes.

"Rowing": 4
"Last Of My Kind": 3
"Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (Boombox Demo): 2
"Got Some": 1

TOTALS:

Soundgarden: 291
Alice In Chains: 272
Pearl Jam: 262
Nirvana: 234

So now, Soundgarden trails off into the "Echo Of Miles".  And I know for a fact tomorrow's song will not be kind to them, so let's see who takes advantage.

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