Listful Thinking: Top 5 Soundgarden Songs

Grunge Week at Blinded By Sound, Vol 4: Soundgarden
  |   Comments

Soundgarden would at times dominate my listening but never held the title as being my favorite of the so-called Grunge bands. I always liked them and they never fell out of favor but they never reached the summit with me. Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were the most obviously influenced by classic rock. They remind me of Black Sabbath's music with Zeppelin's frontman, stirred with a bit of King Crimson to get that prog rock influence that lurks.

I may get some stick for not referencing their earlier works and that's probably fair. Loud As Love is a good record and I remember listening to that a bit in high school but Love* struck me as the classic lineup figuring out where they wanted to go and Badmotorfinger as the record where they arrived.

  • Outshined: This was my introduction to Soundgarden and I was immediately seduced by the unusual time signature shifts and rhythms, the thundering riff from Kim Thayill, and the fierce howl of Cornell. All those elements are as powerful today as they were the day Badmotorfinger was released.
  • Let Me Drown: This is a late addition to the list. It wasn't my favorite song when Superunknown was released but it has grown on me over the years. It was a tossup between another song in that same vein, "Fresh Tendrils," for inclusion on the list but this is the one I settled on. There are so many songs from Superunknown that belong here but I'm more a fan of Badmotorfinger and that will be reflected in the next selections.
  • Mind Riot: I wish I could go back in time and get a count of how many times I listened to this song while screwing around on this new fangled thing what's called the internet doing something called "chatting" on something called AOL (check it out on Wikipedia, kids). I can't explain why but the lyric "I was crying from my eye teeth and bleeding from my soul" struck a nerve and I couldn't get enough of this.
  • Blow Up The Outside World: Down On The Upside is a cool title and an uneven record and this is the upside of a down record. I loved this the first time I heard it. Soundgarden didn't play with the quiet/loud dynamic as frequently as Nirvana did but they do so here and to great effect. Cornell's vocal performance is stellar.
  • Room 1,000 Years Wide: I knew I was going to like this song before I heard it because that, kids, is a badass title for a song. Thayil is thunders away with a bludgeoning riff and Cornell alternates between restrained cool and unhinged shrieks, with avant garde saxophone squelches in the rideout. The song is almost as cool as the name and that's no knock on the tune.