Soundgarden

Picture of Soundgarden

Badmotorfinger/SOMMS

Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger/SOMMS ©1992 A&M
Disc One:
1. Rusty Cage
2. Outshined
3. Slaves & Bulldozers
4. Jesus Christ Pose
5. Face Pollution
6. Somewhere
7. Searching With My Good Eye Closed
8. Room A Thousand Miles Wide
9. Mind Riot
10. Drawing Flies
11. Holy Water
12. New Damage
Disc Two:
13. Into The Void (Sealth)
14. Girl U Want
15. Stray Cat Blues
16. She's A Politician
17. Slaves & Bulldozers (live)

Out of all the bands that emerged in the great Northwest craze of the early 90's, it is my opinion that Soundgarden was the premier and strongest act of them all. Badmotorfinger (coupled with the rare companion EP Somms) is my favorite record by them. Complete with solid playing throughout--guitarist Kim Thayil is especially talented--and the best songwriting of their entire career, Soundgarden was top notch. "Mind Riot", "Face Pollution" and "Jesus Christ Pose" all have runaway intensity while "Somewhere" is introspective, "Rusty Cage" kicks it off with some nice dirty guitar tones from Kim, and the others all contribute to a strong disc. The bonus EP is also excellent, filled with covers of Black Sabbath, Devo and the Rolling Stones, as well as a live song and a Chris Cornell original. If you ever see this particular 2-CD set, get it.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1998

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Superunknown

Soundgarden - Superunknown ©1994 A&M
1. Let Me Drown
2. My Wave
3. Fell On Black Days
4. Mailman
5. Superunknown
6. Head Down
7. Black Hole Sun
8. Spoonman
9. Limo Wreck
10. The Day I Tried To Live
11. Kickstand
12. Fresh Tendrils
13. 4th Of July
14. Half
15. Like Suicide

Undeniably, and thankfully, dominated by Chris Cornell's remarkable singing and songwriting talents, Superunknown was Soundgarden's near-perfect album. The songs blend classic hard rock/metal, 70s rock and the bandmembers' varied worldly influences into Soundgarden's own sound in a much more accomplished, trim-the-fat-satisfying way than ever before (or after); and while one cannot help wishing somebody had taken all the guitars away from Kim Thayil ("Black Hole Sun" has the most atrocious guitar solo in recorded history), there is little to complain about: the songs are melodic, memorable, original, alternatively rocking and introspective, and ultimately very rewarding.

Uncharacteristically, the album as a whole is of the same high caliber as its many radio singles. As such, it is one of the three essential 1990s Seattle rock records, and should be owned by anyone with even a passing interest in hard-ish rock music.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 12/2001

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Down On The Upside

Soundgarden - Down On The Upside ©1996 A&M
1. Pretty Noose
2. Rhinosaur
3. Zero Chance
4. Dusty
5. Ty Cobb
6. Blow Up The Outside World
7. Burden In My Hand
8. Never Named
9. Applebite
10. Never The Machine Forever
11. Tighter & Tighter
12. No Attention
13. Switch Opens
14. Overfloater
15. An Unkind
16. Boot Camp

While reviled as sellouts by some grunge purists, Soundgarden did have a lot going for them: a remarkable, original singer, interesting lyrics, and dignity. Down On the Upside was their final album before their collective suicide, and it ain't a half-bad farewell collection.

Contrary to the band's previous albums, this record does not show a marked progression from its brilliant predecessor, Superunknown. The band's influences are still quite apparent ("Dusty" is strongly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and the verse to "Blow Up The Outside World" is straight out of a late-career Beatles record), but Chris Cornell's unusual chord progressions and vocal melodies are also present at every other turn, giving the album a clear Soundgarden identity. As was invariably the case on previous albums, Cornell's own songs are markedly more original, melodic and memorable than his bandmates'. Nevertheless, the album feels a mite overlong, and the listener has to wade through the uninspired dross of such songs as "Ty Cobb", "Never Named" and "Never The Machine Forever" to hear the record's best pieces ("Tighter & Tighter", "Blow Up..." and "Overfloater").

While indisputably uneven (and notably inferior to Cornell's later solo output), this album contains its fair share of great songs and serves as an elegant final album for a band that clearly had enough.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 12/2001

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