Skip to main content

THE GRUNGE MATCH - 120

Match 120:

Alice In Chains "Lab Monkey" (2013)
Nirvana "Do Re Mi" (1994)
Pearl Jam "Lightning Bolt" (2013)
Soundgarden "Touch Me" (1991)

"Lab Monkey" is musically pedestrian, but just grungy enough to stand out, I guess.  The lyrics are its real strength (which for Alice In Chains is a HUGE shock).  The title is literal: the song is from the point of view of a lab monkey, with a chorus from the point of view of the scientists.  For this album, this is high fucking caliber.  For this matchup, it's mildly interesting.

"Do Re Mi" is Kurt Cobain's attempt to write a late 60's pop song a-la The Byrds or The Mamas & The Papas.  The recording is a solo acoustic demo, and you can only kind of tell it's Cobain singing because he's trying to do something with his voice that's more sunny, yet somehow haunting at the same time (which, when listening to "California Dreaming" is about right).  This is surprisingly good.  It's also unfortunately one of the last songs he ever wrote.

The beginning of "Lightning Bolt" reminds me of a dumbed-down version of "War On The East Coast" by The New Pornographers, but it switches up for a slinky rock chorus that gives it more gravitas.  It's not re-inventing the wheel, but it's well executed.  The piano in the second verse comes out of nowhere, but it's a welcome addition.  The drum line at the end though?  A bit cheesy.

"Touch Me", a B-Side to "Rusty Cage", is not a Doors cover.  It's from a band called Fancy.  It's supposed to be lewd and sexy, but eh, it's kinda just limp.  There is a notable thing about it: it's the one and only professional recording appearance of a woman named Stephanie Barber.  (She's not the one with a Wikipedia page so far as I can tell.)  Stephanie was married to Bruce Fairweather, who was the bass player for Green River and Mother Love Bone.  Bruce was hanging out and got put in charge of writing the lyrics of the song down for Chris Cornell to come and track the next day.  For fun, they had Stephanie do a take of it, and when Cornell heard the playback, he chose to leave her vocal in the song.  It definitely makes the song better than the bland cock rock trying to be sleazy punk it would have been, but either way, it's not my bag.

This was a weird one:

"Do Re Mi": 4
"Lab Monkey": 3
"Lightning Bolt": 2
"Touch Me": 1

TOTALS:

Soundgarden: 327
Alice In Chains: 310
Pearl Jam: 302
Nirvana: 261

And then there were seven!

Comments

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…