Soundgarden’s diverse songs anything but ‘Superunknown’


I chose to review a 1994 album by Seattle, Washington band Soundgarden that I found while I was in high school, which has since become one of my favorite albums.

Coming off of a tour with Guns N’ Roses, Voivod and Faith No More, Soundgarden was poised to be the breakout band of Seattle in 1991. They released their third album that year, “Badmotorfinger,” which was expected to be their breakout album, but it was overshadowed by Pearl Jam’s “Ten” and Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” both released that same year.

In 1994, Soundgarden finally released their breakout album, “Superunknown,” an incredible album chock full of hit songs such as the lead single “Black Hole Sun,” “My Wave,” “Spoonman,” and the title track, “Superunknown”.

This 70-minute collection of music shows some of Soundgarden’s best work, and shows more musical diversity than many bands in their entire career.

This can be seen in tracks like the punk-inspired “Kickstand,” the Middle Eastern-influenced “Half,” and the slow, dreary sludge in “4th of July.” Like all of Soundgarden’s work, no two songs sound alike and there is something new and exciting to be discovered in each listen. Every time, I pick up something different that I didn’t notice before.

The musicianship of the band really shows on this album. Odd time signatures and alternative tunings give strength to this album as shown in tracks such as “Head Down” and “Fresh Tendrils.”

With the colorful guitar work of Kim Thayil, the fluid basslines of Ben Sheppard, the technical drumming of Matt Sheppard and the passionate, belting vocals of Chris Cornell, Soundgarden really created an album that stands out on its own.

This worked to their advantage and helped them stand out from other incredible albums of 1994 such as “Far Beyond Driven” by Pantera, “Illmatic” by Nas, “Betty” by Helmet, “Ready to Die” by Notorious BIG, “The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails, and “Korn” by Korn.

Soundgarden would take home two Grammys in 1995 for their efforts on this album. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something outside the box of contemporary music.