Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
Recently, it seems that every time you pick up a newspaper or magazine to thumb through, you find another article about the wave of new bands from Seattle bombarding the nation with their distinctive new sounds. With recent articles in Time, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and Rolling Stone, the Seattle music scene is definitely getting a lot of exposure. Leading the way have been bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam.
One band that has been a big part in creating the scene, but not experiencing the fame and wealth of these bands is Mudhoney. They have been around for some time now and are every bit as good as, if not better than, the bands from Seattle that have already made it to the national level.
Recorded in the spring of ’91 on the independent label Sub Pop, the label where bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden got their start, “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” (the name is taken from an old music teacher’s trick of helping young students learn the names of the lines in the music staff EGBDF) combines Mudhoney’s potent brew of grungy-garage rock with, when decipherable, intelligent, humorous, lyrics.
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Guitarist Steve Turner, called the Eric Clapton of grunge by Rolling Stone magazine, combines hard-hitting, three-note power chords and feedback-frenzied solos with tasteful bits of harmonica here and there to keep their sound fresh and unique.
Although there are no true ballads on this fast-paced album, Mudhoney does show a more melodic side on songs such as “Good Enough” and “Don’t Fade IV.” Mark Arm’s strong, emotional vocals shift from loud and vile on the bluesy rocker “Thorn,” to a slow, snarling whine on the grungy “Broken Hands.”
On some tracks, Mudhoney displays quite a sense of humor. Their strange, bizarre brand of humor is most notable on the intro to “Don’t Fade IV” which begins with twenty-six seconds of low grumbling snoring done by drummer Dan Peters. Their lyrics are laced with humor and wit, but Mudhoney is best when they show their more serious side, most notably on “Check-Out Time” (He checked out/Gone for good) a dark, haunting song that presents raw, grimy guitars augmented by low-spoken vocals. It may be the best track on the entire album.
Of the fourteen songs, there are some that should have been left behind. On tracks like “Who You Driving Now?” Mudhoney comes across as boring and repetitious, while on others they sound downright annoying. However, even the worst track on this album is better than some of the best tracks on albums made today by the countless number of non-talent, all-image, heavy-metal bands who continue to place horrid albums on the charts.
When this album came out, it proved to be the biggest seller that Sub Pop had ever had up until then. Nirvana lists this album on their top-ten list of favorite albums. Both of these come with good reason. With this album, Mudhoney shows that they may be the most talented band to come out of Seattle to date. Within the next few years, look for them to achieve every bit as much fame as the bands from Seattle that have already made it big. Judging from the sounds and insights on “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge,” it is certain that Mudhoney will definitely be worthy of that kind of success. n