Wednesday, February 2, 2011

336- Superunknown- Ironically their best known album

Album: Superunknown
Artist: Soundgarden
Year: 1994
Genre: Grunge


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

Grunge was partly responsible for killing off the vocalist. In the early nineties the idea of a front man whose job was to sing songs and dance a bit was thrown out the window along with stage costumes and hair spray. Lots of bands seemed to follow the idea that nobody listened to music for the quality of the vocals they were just interested in the song. Singing duties were taken by whichever musician could hold a note and play their instrument at the same time. Chris Cornell isn't an old school vocalist (he still plays an instrument and he doesn't ponce about the stage feeding off the fan's love) but he's definitely a singer in the sense that he can really sing. Cornell is probably the best singer rock and roll produced in the 1990's. It's a telling fact that when the producers of Casino Royale wanted someone to sing the theme music they chose Cornell. I love Mick Jagger but can you imagine him singing a Bond Theme? Name me another singer who has a good enough voice to really belt out a rousing tune over the top of silhouetted nude women and hand guns?

Cornell's career has wandered a bit of late but back in the nineties he was the voice of Soundgarden and Superunknown was their finest hour. It's a landmark album that said Heavy Rock could still look back to Zeppelin, Sabbath and Purple without slavishly ripping them off. Punk wasn't dead but it didn't need to be the exclusive cultural reference point for every band who liked to distort their guitars.

I'm not adverse to a bit of Hard Rock from time to time but for some reason my own birth marked the end of my interest in Heavy music. If it's recorded before 1973 I'm more more inclined to like it. The first two Zeppelin albums are sensational and I don't mind a bit of Purple. I feel heavy from time to time and when I do a Zeppelin bootleg normally does it for me. But I have to say I enjoyed bits of Superunknown. Let Me Drown opens the album well and Spoonman is a great track. Black Hole Sun was a huge hit single but it leaves me feeling fairly cold and unaffected as do parts of the rest of the album. It's one of those releases that I can understand the appeal of but I can't fully get into myself.

Superunknown hasn't dated at all. It's 15 years old but could have been recorded yesterday. If you like hard rock and an impressive vocalist it could well be your bag.

Highlight: Spoonman
Lowlight: Black Hole Sun

Influenced by: Led Purple Sabbath
Influenced: Nickleback.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Was shocked to be recommended this album after listening to & loving Sublime. Not at all in the same genre. Absolutely hated it. Skimmed through all the tracks in utter horror before giving it to my brother - sorry guys! "

-It is kind of refreshing to find a reviewer who is apologetic. Most one star reviews blame the band for not meeting their music tastes so to find someone prepared to think the other way around was a highly original twist.

1 comment:

  1. I love this album soundgarden are one of my all time favourite bands. Personally i feel that Chris Cornell was the best vocalist to come out of the seattle grunge movement