Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SOUNDGARDEN-Down On The Upside (1996)


I think I planted something when I listened to Chris Cornell's "Scream" album a few days ago. As I stayed on my alternative rock kick, the former vocalist for SOUNDGARDEN popped back into my mind when I was debating which artist from the post-grunge camp I wanted to check out next. Remembering that I hadn't ever listened to a full SOUNDGARDEN album yet, 1996's "Down On The Upside" soon became my hour-long listening companion for the latter part of my Tuesday night. Those same stunning, soulful vocals I enjoyed on "Scream" are 'screaming' just as powerfully all up and down "Down On The Upside", establishing themselves loud and clear on the opener, "Pretty Noose", where his repeated painful words of ' I don't like what you got me hanging on ' somehow getting stuck in my head. I absolutely love the sound showcased on "Dusty" (where this album's title is given)—everything from the stunning voice amidst the power rock shouting 'turn it back around' to the stylistically uneven funky rhythm. "Ty Cobb": that was a legendary pro baseball player, right? So then why do the lyrics on this one have absolutely nothing to do with baseball? It's just one of the bizarre things featured here; the other is the fact that the song starts nice and slow with a lovely acoustic melody before—BOOM!—they hit you with the high-speed rockin' thrill ride that even has a bit of a foot-pattin' country spirit to it and actually made me feel like dancing in some spurts! "Blow Up The Outside World": Now THIS is a power ballad! Such wonderful melody and excellent vocals all throughout which of course, I got lost in and completely became oblivious to why Chris and company want to blow up the outside world. "Never The Machine Forever" is a real grunge rock gem. The guitar work is go good and so infectious that I was quite literally bopping my head up and down to the beat during the extended instrumental phases, with his repeated words of 'sleep tight for me, I'm gone' getting stuck in my head. Enjoyed my second high-speed, break-neck adrenaline rush with "No Attention"; in fact, the guys rock it out so hard on this one that, at times, I only really understood the repetitive 'no attention' with everything else being a musical blur! Chris Cornell's music is rapidly growing on me, and I look forward to seeing what else I can dig up from his SOUNDGARDEN in the days ahead:

1. Pretty Noose
2. Rhinosaur
3. Zero Chance
4. Dusty
5. Ty Cobb
6. Blow Up The Outside World
7. Burden In My Hand
8. Never Named
9. Applebite
10. Never The Machine Forever
11. Tighter & Tighter
12. No Attention
13. Switch Opens
14. Overfloater
15. An Unkind
16. Married With Children

1 comment:

Days of Broken Arrows said...

Check out the CD before this, "Superunknown," which has their breakthrough hit "Black Hole Sun." It's really good stuff. The drawback is that it goes on for over 70 minutes (which would have been a double album in the old days), so it's best broken up into pieces when you first listen to it.