Soundgarden
Screaming Life/Fopp


3.5
great

Review

by Meatplow USER (111 Reviews)
May 19th, 2007 | 11 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Great old school grunge.

Soundgarden - Screaming Life/Fopp

Soundgarden needs no introduction to most. As one of the most commercially successful rock acts of the 1990s, Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and Down on The Upside cemented them a solid niche on top of the alternative rock canon. With success born out of the early 90s Seattle grunge scene alongside fellow brothers in misery Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, you could be forgiven for glancing over pre-Badmotorfinger Soundgarden. Many are surprised to hear some of their recordings date back to 1984. Often described as Seattle's best-kept secret at the time, listening to the bands earlier work reveals a fresh and experimental genre of music emerging.

Screaming Life was the bands first EP, released in 1987. Fopp was their second EP, released in 1988. Screaming Life/Fopp is a combination of the two, released in 1990. Not knowing what to expect after several years of being constantly immersed in the bands major label works and afraid to step back in time, on first play Hunted Down holds up excellently. A simple haunting chorus infected riff leads the chase with Chris Cornell's lyrical delivery providing a moody atmosphere. It certainly demonstrates the origins of the slow as molasses punk/metal vibe of early grunge. Entering starts off with portentous drums battling with a simple, dark chord pattern, progressing into an energetic punk number interchanging with that soft/loud/soft/loud formula that has become so cliche over the years. Tears To Forget is a surprise, Chris Cornell screaming death metal style! It's fast and unrelentless, interesting to see the band experimenting with different styles in the early days. Nothing To Say is perhaps one of the best songs on the album, with bassist Hiro Yamamoto's droning bassline, Cornell's miserable wail and Kim Thayil's guitar comprising murky pain in the best way possible. If i was to suggest an indicator to the fresh and experimental sounds within the formation of grunge inherent in this album, i would probably point to the next track Little Joe. An underrated and glanced over song, the funk style drums and chorus laden guitars take you back to another time. Hand of God uses samples from religious speeches to the soundtrack of palm muted distortion and bass, the band jamming out in between. It's another great song that is worth a listen.

To the Fopp section of the EP, Kingdom of Come is a fairly unremarkable track. It's a listenable enough rock effort, but weak all the same. Green River cover Swallow My Pride is one of the most unique Soundgarden songs i have heard, a very upbeat punk song with a seasonal vibe to it that sounds very uplifting indeed. The next track Fopp, is a quirky experimental punk jam based on a song originally written by the Ohio Players. The next track is a dub remix of Fopp, essentially a retelling of the same song with some samples thrown in. It's a fun listen but unremarkable.

Screaming Life/Fopp is a good album length EP on it's own merit. The production is murky and some will find it hard to swallow, for an introduction to 80s Soundgarden i would head for albums Ultramega OK and Louder Then Love, which are stellar efforts. Apart from that, if you want a look at the formative states of grunge and Soundgarden before they both exploded into the big time this is an essential listen.



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user ratings (70)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
AlienEater
May 19th 2007


716 Comments


I used to love Soundgarden

RoshanC
October 10th 2007


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why no more?

RoshanC
November 28th 2007


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Down on the upside gets better with every listen, but doesnt immediately strike you as a classic, unlike Badmotorfinger and Superunknown

RoshanC
November 28th 2007


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fopp is so much fun to jam to

xequalscore
April 14th 2009


437 Comments


"Swallow My Pride" is actually a Green River cover.

joaogil
August 7th 2009


78 Comments


Nothing to Say is by far the best track on this album...it's incredibly heavy

joaogil
August 25th 2009


78 Comments


not at all...ultramega ok is far more solid than this

NebSnurb
August 28th 2009


535 Comments


Yeah this is amazing, the first 5 songs are great....but the songs that are good on Ultramega OK beat any of these

NodScene23
November 29th 2010


270 Comments


The song Fopp completely rules.

pissbore
March 7th 2013


9935 Comments


so hard dude and the dub mix rules too

damn i havent even listened to this in so long

pissbore
March 7th 2013


9935 Comments


jaoagil knows whats up



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