Soundgarden
Superunknown


4.5
superb

Review

by Mike Allen USER (107 Reviews)
November 15th, 2009 | 658 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Soundgarden’s masterpiece “Superunknown” is truly a powerful journey, and one of the most emotionally draining albums of all-time.

You’d be hard pressed to find many albums as emotionally draining as “Superunknown.” Soundgarden’s 1994 release is one of the darkest, grungiest, and utterly fantastic records that I have ever heard. “Superunknown” is considered the magnum opus of a somewhat overlooked grunge band. Soundgarden arrived on the music scene earlier than the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, releasing “Ultramega Ok” and “Louder Than Love” in the late 1980’s. The band gained even more popularity and acclaim in 1991, with their best record yet, “Badmotorfinger.” At this point, it became clear that Soundgarden was growing with each release, so it wasn’t far-fetched to believe “Superunknown” would continue the trend.

It becomes apparent when Chris Cornell delivers “Stretch marks over my eyes, burn the candles deep inside,” in the album’s first track that this will be a much gloomier record. “Superunknown” is subject to heavily distorted and dropped tuning guitars and soaring and blunt vocals that give it sheer brutality. The slow burning Limo Wreck directly reflects this, its self-hating lyrics and eerie atmosphere represents the record very well. Trippy single Black Hole Sun is responsible for a great deal of “Superunknown’s” success, it’s disturbing and absurd music video says everything about the song. Don’t get me wrong, this record does have its lighter moments, but even the more upbeat nature of The Day I Tried to Live is misleading. In the opening verse, Cornell’s lyrics are distressing, “I woke up the same as any other day, except a voice was in my head. It said ‘Seize the day, pull the trigger, drop the blade and watch the rolling heads.’” Still, the track blissfully carries on, Cornell utilizing his distinct yell, Cameron beating his drums to a pulp, and Thayil wailing on his guitar. Spoonman also plays along these lines, for it is an excellent track with an unforgettable riff. Spoonman features disturbing lyrics of its own; “All my friends are Indians, all my friends are brown and red, Spoonman. And all my friends are skeletons, they beat the rhythm with their bones, Spoonman.”

A major underscore of the record is that of Fell on Black Days which is an excellent ballad that features some of Cornell’s best vocals and Thayil’s strongest guitar work. The song is extremely catchy and utilizes a somewhat simple bass line. “Superunknown’s” gloomiest moment may possibly be 4th of July, a tremendously heavy track with Cornell hauntingly singing “Cause I heard it in the wind, and I saw it in the sky. And I thought it was the end and I thought it was the 4th of July.” The album’s final song is a perfect closer; Like Suicide comes to a fulfilling climax with Cornell converting his deep grunge voice to his high-pitched scream. The tribal drumming and slow-burning nature of the track has an amazing effect and at the bridge Thayil just tears the track apart. When expecting the tragic nature of the song the listener isn’t disappointed, the songwriting is as tragic as ever, “She lived like a murder, how she’d fly so sweetly. She lived like a murder, but she died just like suicide.”

Soundgarden’s masterpiece “Superunknown” is truly a powerful journey, and one of the most emotionally draining albums of all-time. You don’t even have to listen to the record in order to get a sense of the dimness. Just look at the song titles, Fell on Black Days? Limo Wreck? The Day I Tried to Live? Absolutely tormented.

Recommended Tracks:
Fell on Black Days
Black Hole Sun
Spoonman
The Day I Tried to Live
Like Suicide



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Comments:Add a Comment 
hydeyomoney
November 15th 2009


934 Comments


nevermind this comments sucks.

EVedder27
November 15th 2009


6088 Comments


haha

DiceMan
November 15th 2009


7068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really like this album. Found it used at fye

SnackaryBinx
November 15th 2009


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this would be their magnum opus except badmotorfinger is better

Meatplow
November 15th 2009


5524 Comments


I've made attempts on and off at writing an epic 5 star review for this, I've just had so much difficulty with it. The only problem I can see is that it is too long and so a lot of the later tracks get ignored, apart from that I would consider it flawless and arguably the greatest rock album of the 90's.

this would be their magnum opus except badmotorfinger is better


I disagree.

SnackaryBinx
November 15th 2009


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've always enjoyed Badmotorfinger more then this. Mostly because songs like Outshined and Jesus Christ Pose are unbelievably baller

WarAllTheTime988
November 15th 2009


360 Comments


I've listened to this the least of their 3 albums I have for some reason - yet most think it's their best. I gotta spend some quality time with this soon.

EVedder27
November 16th 2009


6088 Comments


Yeah Outshined and Jesus Christ Pose are kick ass songs

Meatplow
November 16th 2009


5524 Comments


Badmotorfinger is almost as good as this for me, but probably a little rougher around the edges for my liking.

Ultramega OK and Louder Than Love are great as well.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 16th 2009


23819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really good review. In my opinion, Soundgarden is the most underrated of the original grunge scene bands. It's crazy that Nirvana got the exposure they did while this band was around. This album is utterly mindblowing, but I can't figure out what rating to give it. It needs more listens.

Nagrarok
November 16th 2009


8246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aye, this is a great album. Agree with most of the review. Although I would change the summary, because now you state the opinion of many, not your own. 'is considered' doesn't really come across as convincing, te be honest. Or at least you could add to it 'and with good reason'.

BigHans
November 16th 2009


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

First it steals your mind and then it steals your souuuuuuuuuuul!

BigHans
November 16th 2009


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fresh Tendrils on this is their most underrated and arguably best song.

EVedder27
November 16th 2009


6088 Comments


I was actually considering changing the summary, so I did.

jagride
November 16th 2009


2333 Comments


deserves a 5/5

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 16th 2009


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

excellent review, brilliant album, pos'd

Meatplow
November 16th 2009


5524 Comments


I need to listen to some Limo Wreck

Hero764
November 16th 2009


6 Comments


The best songs are Limo Wreck and Superunknown.

HenchmanOfSanta
November 16th 2009


1866 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The Day I Tried to Live is the best song ever.
Soundgarden are possibly the best band ever.

bungy
November 16th 2009


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love this band and kudos for mentioning 4th of july



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