Superunknown

Superunknown

4.3 10
by Soundgarden
     
 

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Soundgarden's finest hour, Superunknown is a sprawling, 70-minute magnum opus that pushes beyond any previous boundaries. Soundgarden had always loved replicating Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath riffs, but Superunknown's debt is more to mid-period Zep's layered arrangements and sweeping epics.

Overview

Soundgarden's finest hour, Superunknown is a sprawling, 70-minute magnum opus that pushes beyond any previous boundaries. Soundgarden had always loved replicating Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath riffs, but Superunknown's debt is more to mid-period Zep's layered arrangements and sweeping epics. Their earlier punk influences are rarely detectable, replaced by surprisingly effective appropriations of pop and psychedelia. Badmotorfinger boasted more than its fair share of indelible riffs, but here the main hooks reside mostly in Chris Cornell's vocals; accordingly, he's mixed right up front, floating over the band instead of cutting through it. The rest of the production is just as crisp, with the band achieving a huge, robust sound that makes even the heaviest songs sound deceptively bright. But the most important reason Superunknown is such a rich listen is twofold: the band's embrace of psychedelia, and their rapidly progressing mastery of songcraft. Soundgarden had always been a little mind-bending, but the full-on experiments with psychedelia give them a much wider sonic palette, paving the way for less metallic sounds and instruments, more detailed arrangements, and a bridge into pop (which made the eerie ballad "Black Hole Sun" an inescapable hit). That blossoming melodic skill is apparent on most of the record, not just the poppier songs and Cornell-penned hits; though a couple of drummer Matt Cameron's contributions are pretty undistinguished, they're easy to overlook, given the overall consistency. The focused songwriting allows the band to stretch material out for grander effect, without sinking into the pointlessly drawn-out muck that cluttered their early records. The dissonance and odd time signatures are still in force, though not as jarring or immediately obvious, which means that the album reveals more subtleties with each listen. It's obvious that Superunknown was consciously styled as a masterwork, and it fulfills every ambition.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/08/1994
Label:
A&M
UPC:
0731454019828
catalogNumber:
540198

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Superunknown 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is truly an amazing album, not only the best Soundgarden album, but one of the best albums of rock and roll. First off, I am a huge Cornell fan. I love Temple of the Dog, and I listen to his solo album "Euphoria Morning" constantly. I listen to this album just as much. Cornell is truly one of the best musicians around, but true fans know that Soundgarden isn't just a one-man-band. The guitars, like jimmy Page decades earlier, create catchy, well thought out riffs and solos, mostly they use drop-d tuning. Cornell's vocals and lyrics are what you'd expect, brilliant, and one thing I really like about this album is the heavy psychedellic sound.
Guest More than 1 year ago
if you were to recognize how beautiful these songs are,I bet you would play them over and over again, to the point where you know all the words.As you listen to one amazing song after the other and find yourself totally spellbound, to the point where you can't move,I invite you to look back on the moment when you got this cd, and realize it was the start of you having something precious and yet powerful that you can keep forever.When you can realize,buy now,that this is a great and other masterpiece, with songs that touch you deep inside ,like a soft velvet glove that caresses your innermost feelings of passions and stirs them up to the point where they are released in a fury as you hear all the intense moans and primal screams that only true passion like this brings,echoing thru your mine,as you surrender again and again to the passion which is this album, and feel breathless,For me,you can't help but agree,this is true passion.And that's why i like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good heavy riffs and good peaceful songs (Black Hole Sun, Fell on Black Days). This is very heavy album. The tracks are full of anger and power. Some lyrics are funny too: "Spoonman" and "Mailman". The Vocalist has a great voice and all the instuments are very excellent work. "The day I tried to live" and "Like Suicide" are pessimistic songs which I listened to when I had hard times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The 1994 release of “Superunknown” marked the beginning of the end for Seattle's own Soundgarden. Soundgarden had previously enjoyed success with their albums "Ultramega OK, "Louder than Love," and "Badmotorfinger." They were propelled to superstardom by their hit singles Jesus Christ Pose, Rusty Cage, and Outshined, all of which originated on the “Badmotorfinger” LP. In 1996, they followed “Superunknown” with “Down on the Upside,” which had a relatively poor showing in terms of record sales, due to the decreasing interest in grunge music. In the end, it was “Superunknown” that brought Soundgarden their ultimate fame. Like their previous albums, “Superunknown” was influenced by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, two of the bands that the members of Soundgarden idolized. Unlike their previous albums, the 70’s and 80’s punk influence is gone. For this album the song arrangement played a more integral part in the album’s sound. The album produced four singles (Black Hole Sun, Spoonman, The Day I Tried to Live, and Fell on Black Days), all of which are still played on rock format radio stations around the world. Chris Cornell’s lyrics are nothing spectacular or thought provoking (with the possible exception of the song Like Suicide), but it’s his recognizable voice that he will be remembered for. Kim Thayil’s guitar riffs are still excellent and show Soundgarden’s rock roots, which will assure him as one of the best guitarists of all time and quite possibly the best of the Seattle grunge band era (Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains probably ties with Thayil for this honor). Bassist Ben Shepherd’s contributions are nothing spectacular in the realm of bass guitar playing, but his contributions should never be overlooked. Drummer Matt Cameron, who is known for his odd time signatures, power, and finesse, is at the top of his game on “Superunknown.” One listen to Black Hole Sun’s 6/4 time signature and Spoonman’s 16/8, and it’s obvious that Matt Cameron is one of the best drummers around today. All of these elements contributed to Soundgarden picking up two Grammy awards for this album. All in all, this album should be in any rock fan’s album collection.
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