Superunknown [20th Anniversary] (LP)


Soundgarden

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Amoeba Review

06/02/2014

Soundgarden aren’t remembered in the same way as other grunge bands of their era. They didn’t have the punk cool of Nirvana, imagination of The Smashing Pumpkins or underground cred of Mudhoney, for instance. But something they did have, which becomes very apparent with this re-release, is monster talent. Fronted by Chris Cornell, whose handsome face caused some to dismiss his powerful, versatile voice, and featuring the kickass guitarwork of Kim Thayil, Soundgarden were a dynamic beast of a band, and Superunknown is a massive album. It was Soundgarden’s biggest album, their successful bid to the mainstream, featuring the kind of dynamite metallic groovers they were already known for—the success of Batmotorfinger’s “Rusty Cage” extending into songs like “Let Me Drown” and the title track—and singles that blew up sludgey metal riffs with Cornell’s dramatic voice and Thayil’s explosive guitarwork. Of these singles, only “Fell on Black Days” hasn’t aged well. “Spoonman” still is an epically weird first single, highlighting Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd’s hard-hitting rhythm section and featuring a spoon solo, which is pretty remarkable considering this was released in 1994, when it was four dudes with guitars or nothing on the radio. And “Black Hole Sun” is one of the few rock singles of the time to meaningfully explore Beatlesesque melodies in its gorgeous verses. As stunning as a song like “Black Hole Sun” still is, listening back, the lesser-known songs feel revelatory, like the punk-fueled “Kickstand” or Kinks-inspired surf grunge of “My Wave.” Its deepest recesses fall prey to some of the dude-rock mopeyness that marred a lot of popular rock of the time, but the 16-song original LP runtime of Superunknown is still terribly impressive in how successfully it delivers on its stadium-sized ambitions. The 20th anniversary edition adds additional demos, instrumentals, B-sides and more, which feel crucial for an album of this magnitude.



Track Listing



Side A Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Let Me Drown
Soundgarden
2.
My Wave
Soundgarden
3.
Fell On Black Days
Soundgarden
4.
Mailman
Soundgarden


Side B Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Superunknown
Soundgarden
2.
Head Down
Soundgarden
3.
Black Hole Sun
Soundgarden


Side C Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Spoonman
Soundgarden
2.
Limo Wreck
Soundgarden
3.
The Day I Tried To Live
Soundgarden
4.
Kickstand
Soundgarden


Side D Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Fresh Tendrils
Soundgarden
2.
4th of July
Soundgarden
3.
Half
Soundgarden
4.
Like Suicide
Soundgarden
5.
She Likes Surprises
Soundgarden

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