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This review is from: Superunknown (Audio CD)
A true masterpiece in music, the sheer consistency and quality of this album is frankly, at times, astonishing. Across the 16 tracks and 71 minutes of music there is virtually no excess baggage or filler.
There are heroic moments aplenty. The awesome opener of "Let me drown" (check out Chris Cornell's awesome scream near the end of this track) and the epic title track, which builds in intensity with each chorus, are both fantastic high watermarks on an album overflowing with excellence.
For the grunge fans, "Fell on black days" and the gutteral "mailman" are as dark as anything you could wish for. The latter offers a glimpse inside a relationship gone so sour that the protagonist almost delights in the destruction wrought by it, noting that while he is "heading for the bottom" he is not alone-"I'm riding you all the way."
There are some decidely spooky songs in the fray too. Cornell's voice on "Head down" is enough to make the hair on your neck stand up-his tone and technique are quite different from what the casual listener will expect from a man with one of the most spectacular voices in the history of rock. Following this is "Black hole sun," a song which should be familiar to anyone with an interest in alternative music. Although this is one of the more accessible songs on the album, the tone and subject matter are as bleak as anything surronding it, with Cornell noting that "times are gone for honest men" in a line that expresses great weariness and cynicisim with latter day society.
There are some true gems in the second half of the album. Chief among these are the devastating mire of "4th of July" in all her psychedelic glory and the jaw dropping "The day I tried to live" which showcases the immense talent of all four members of Soundgarden.
Soundgarden even throw in some humour, in the fantastic "Spoonman" and the even better "She likes surprises."
The term "grunge" will forever be applied to Soundgarden, but this is far too restrictive a term to encompass an album of this quality. At it's best it simultaneously wallows in despair and soars above anything produced by contemporary artists. This was the album that truly broke Soundgarden from a large underground act to mainstream success. But don't let that put you off. This is an uncompromising album, one that belongs in the collection of all rock fans and indeed, in the collection of all music lovers, as a paradigm of late twentieth century alternative rock music.