Soundgarden - Superunknown
Soundgarden's fourth album is "Superunknown" What have not been said yet on this album?
How do we even begin to describe this perfect piece of music?
Each of the 15 tracks on this album is perfect, every minute of the album's 70 minutes is a sheer pleasure!
This is an album that combines it all...
Experimental pieces in new districts, unconventional guitar tunings, complex melodies, hallucinatory rhythms, incomprehensible song dynamics and a variety of amusement facilities. Just a pleasure to buy an all-inclusive ticket, enter the amusement park and have a great time with the amazing facility operators: Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron
So let's start with the songs themselves because everything that happened around is minor compared to what happens inside...
The album opens with "Let Me Drown" featuring the band's all-too-familiar Riff off beat. The chorus is just addictive and even before the second chorus you already recite "drown me in you", but then comes the charming break. As if someone is throwing you off a cliff and you are hovering in the air as Chris whispers in your ear and Matt's 16 bit like hot air vortices lifts you up until the solo arrives that smashes you to the ground. What a beauty thing... Chris said that the theme of the song is to go back into the womb and die, he even made a song comparison to Nirvana's "In Utero".
And heyyyyyy here comes "My Wave" !!! We feel like jumping into the water along with this bouncing reef, how happy, what a smile we have on our faces now. It does not matter what music you like, where you came from and where you are going, it will penetrate you directly into the nerves, merge with the muscles and your body will be filled with energies !! Break, If you like the sound !! What a shaky bass... how crazy the drumming here is... how the guitars break down... and what penetrating vocals !!
Now let's get a little gloomy, we'll be sure to repeat ourselves here in almost every song but there's nothing to do, that's how we feel on this album and it will never help or leave us. "Fell On Black Days" simply takes you on a journey into the depths of your soul, searching for your gloomy places, the dark parts of you and creating a kind of completion, acceptance and inclusion. You manage to connect to these places and accept them in reconciliation, a kind of psychological process in four minutes and forty-four seconds.
We'll move on to "Mailman" which feels even gloomier, with Kim's heavy and haughty riff when at first it makes you feel exhausted and desperate. This time you are looking for your dark places outside, in your surroundings, looking for your bad and toxic places to eliminate them or control them and only they will not control you.
So enough... let's move on to something happier... and "Superunknown"!
A song bearing the name of the album "Superunknown" and the gorgeous opening of the guitar is already bouncing you off the spot as if you jumped off the floor straight onto a trampoline that is on a hot air balloon and you really do not know what is going to happen. Chris tries to convince you throughout the song that if it's something you do not know, it does not mean you have to stick to a familiar pattern, deal with the unknown, deal with the unknown writer. A 5-minute song that even though it sounds a bit monotonous you can keep rehearsing it and not get tired.
The sixth song "Head Down" feels like one of the tracks that Soundgarden tried to do something different in, the basis of it sounds similar but the rhythm of the drums, the guitar fingering and Chris' voice sound different and intriguing. These unique sounds are a bit reminiscent of the Indian experience of the Beatles and in hindsight these were buds of things that were heard later in "Down on the Upside" and it's a pleasure...
And then it comes...
Say what you want !! "Black Hole Sun" was the most played song from the album, playing non-stop all over the world, true but every time Kim's unintentional guitar makes the opening sound of the song, it's impossible not to go back and even for one second to that moment of astonishment, to the first moment you heard the song. And what happiness floods you now, like a marshmallow foam bath and cream. Yes, sometimes we are delusional but it seems to us that here you also feel that way. Even Chris himself was surprised, he said that in this song he just gave the words freedom to come out without any order or logic and tried to assemble from them some form without any structure or story, something imaginary and hallucinatory. Songs that become hits are usually songs with lyrics that the audience manages to connect with and identify with it significantly, so he was surprised at how people managed to connect to:
"Hides the face, lies the snake..."
We have not yet calmed down from the Sun and then the spoons arrive, with a phenomenal drumming of Matt, what a magnetizing, mesmerizing and insane rhythm !!! "Spoonman" is another piece that throws you up and you really feel the rhythm in your hands. The song was inspired by a tablespoon artist who used to play on a street in Seattle. While writing the song Chris did not even meet the man !! The story of the song started in general from the movie "Singles", when names were thrown to the fictional band of the movie, one of the names was this. Chris toyed with the idea and the band even played an acoustic segment of the song in the film, only after the film was out, the song composed for what we know today.
Where are we??
Ahhh yeah, song number nine, "Limo Wreck", a classic from Soundgarden's creativity, all the necessary elements of rock, grunge and soul... Crisco got the idea to sing while sitting in a traffic jam in Los Angeles looking at the luxury cars of the rich, vs the beat-up cars of the working class. He called the song "shame-on-decadence song" which is a contempt song for the decline of the generation. He intended to remind the rich people that they are not above morality. He saw an accident in which a limousine was involved with the pompous rich man sitting in the back which was sure the "sun was shining out of his ass" and he immediately remembered Axl Rose and a specific scene from the "Estranged" music video where Axl is photographed coming out of a white mansion, all dressed in white and all his escorts and bodyguards in white. Cops dressed in white accompany him on white motorcycles. Cornell thought to himself that the rich man from the limousine is exactly the kind of person he watches in the music video and how he dares to spit in the face of the fans who put him in the god class he is in.
Now they decide to throw us back into something a little different and unfamiliar and we smile and have fun. "The Day I Tried to Live" is another song that has something a little different in it, the rolling of the drums with the fret that emanates from a transistor puts you in a kind of incessant consistent movement and you just shout "One more time around". Chris said it was not a suicide song as many thought but a song that talks about his desire to live up to expectations or adapt himself to what society expects of him. He always felt that society constantly expected him to be normal and it did not always suit him.
The song "Kickstand" is a short refresher designed to shake the sheets out of bed...
"Kickstand, you got loose and I threw up"
The song that follows, "Fresh Tendrils" also feels like something a little different but its chorus takes you straight back into Soundgarden's DNA.
Then comes another gloomy moment... another heavy, heavy, heavy riff and everyone follows it... "4th of July" is a song that makes you invent the moment yourself, you are the one who writes the script. Chris said he wrote this song about experimenting with the acid drug, he had a case where he was driving a car and behind him were two imaginary people who talked and laughed all the way and instead of feeling weird and persecuted he felt good, he felt he had a girlfriend and he was not alone. He explained that anyone else reading the words would not really understand it but maybe in the chorus you will get a hint of it.
Another track that is an introduction to the album "Down on the Upside" is the song "Half", a track with Indian elements that throws you somewhere else and gives you a brief moment to freshen up before the last track.
Sounds weird to say this about a song called "Like Suicide", but what a perfect ending to a perfect album and it would be even weirder if you understand what the song is about. Let's just say that the song is split in two, with the first part being relatively quiet with fret and light drumming as Chris tells the story. The other, noisy part, throws you somewhere else and as Soundgarden knows how to do it, you're just flirting.
Chris wrote the song about... a bird, yes a bird !! As he was writing the music to the song in his basement he suddenly heard a loud bang, he went up to see what had happened and found that a bird had entered the window of his house, broken its neck and lay dying in front of it. Chris who did not know what to do decided to redeem her misery and crushed her head with a stone.
How she'd fly so sweetly" She lived like a martyr But she died Just like suicide"
Soundgarden's fourth album, gave them the biggest commercial success and is the only album to reach number one on the Billboard charts while music from Seattle was in its heyday. The album was nominated for a Grammy and two songs from it "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun" won awards.