Soundgarden

For a while there, it seemed like people forgot about Soundgarden. If you got into Soundgarden in the ’00s, you got into them during what was a bit of a wasteland for the band. While their peers and contemporaries flared out tragically (Alice In Chains, Nirvana) but in ways that solidified legacies, or others continued soldiering on in a decade where their relevance waned, singer Chris Cornell decided to front the remaining members of Rage Against The Machine as Audioslave, and then embarrass himself with one solo album that was a bastardized mash-up of alt-rock and adult contemporary (2007′s Carry On), and another that was just an ill-advised, mis-matched collaboration with Timbaland (2009′s Scream). Matt Cameron became the longest-serving drummer in Pearl Jam, and seemingly a truly pivotal member in that band as well, ending their bad luck streak with drummers and preventing them from becoming Spinal Tap. The rest of Soundgarden stayed pretty quiet, the (always underrated) guitarist Kim Thayil contributing to a few things here and there, bassist Ben Shepherd essentially falling off the map.

It seemed as if Soundgarden was truly dead and gone. Its members had moved on in ways that (OK, for the moment) seemed a bit more permanent, and never seemed to entertain the idea of a reunion, or getting back together with a different singer, or whatever other variation numerous ’90s bands had exhumed themselves in. Due to some legal stuff, you couldn’t even find throwback merchandise. All you could do was hear the same few Soundgarden hits repeated on radio, which began to feel more and more like ghostly transmissions from ten or fifteen or twenty years past. Soundgarden was absent in a way other ’90s remnants weren’t. They were relics before their time.

That was always a bit weird, not just because Soundgarden was a seminal artist in the early ’90s rise of grunge, and not just because they’d left behind a catalog that was widely critically adored, but also because out of any of the other big ’90s bands, Soundgarden seemed as if they would still have something to offer another generation of musicians after nu-metal had finished defiling the corpse of grunge. In one sense, they were very much of their era. Like many of their grunge contemporaries, Soundgarden generally drew inspiration from the ’70s mainstream and ’80s alternative, creating a mix that quoted equally from punk, post-punk, metal, classic rock, and, later, psychedelia. Soundgarden sounded like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and name-checked the Beatles, but had grown up listening to Gang of Four. Different parts of that sentence could be applied to any of the other Seattle bands in different ways.

The difference with Soundgarden was that they were always a little weird, and the definition of what that meant changed throughout their career. For a while people wanted them to be an alternative-minded metal band. They could open for Guns ’N’ Roses in arenas, and then for Skid Row, and then hop on Lollapalooza with Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They were intellectual and mature compared to a lot of mainstream metal, but not quite as artsy as some of their friends in the alternative world. They seemed to always have each foot in a different world. Where some of their contemporaries eventually aged out into becoming classic rock of a sort, Soundgarden can often still sound unique, thanks in large part to that psychedelic bend they began incorporating with Superunknown in 1994.

Soundgarden took their name from a permanent installation in Seattle called A Sound Garden, a series of 12 steel towers with hanging organ pipes that would produce different tones when the wind passed through them. In one example, there at the beginning, you can see how all of Soundgarden’s existence was going to be one of multiple identities. A sculpture of wind and steel, symbolic of a band that would always sound monumental, but with a power equal parts elemental and industrial. They quoted from a lot of the same artists as the other big grunge acts, but took those influences to a darker, more nuanced sound. Lyrically, Cornell would often dwell on diving into the deeper, most uncomfortable recesses of human existence, while musically their twilit version of psychedelia offered its own kind of difficult catharsis. There are things on Superunknown and Down On The Upside that still sound overwhelmingly new and exciting, things that on one hand make you grateful that the band stopped when they did, keeping one part of their legacy intact, but also making you wonder what greatness was left to be mined. This is why it was so weird to live through that time where nobody really talked about Soundgarden anymore — there still seemed to be things left unexplored, for listeners and new musicians alike, things that should’ve kept Soundgarden relevant as an influence even if they seemed determined to fade away.

Of course, all of that’s been undone now. Soundgarden did finally reunite, and after playing shows for a while, they actually put out a new album, King Animal, late last year. It’s a lot better than you might’ve expected given Cornell’s more recent work, or the decade-plus gap since their last outing. It might lean a little on their heavy side for a bunch of aging rockstars, but it also held glimpses of how they might continue to grow as Soundgarden, with new explorations of their psychedelic side glimpsed here and there, and the unsettling alt-blues of “Rowing” a concise vision of what an old Soundgarden might become. At this point, though, it’s all for the fans that already existed; nobody is going to care about King Animal or whatever follows it unless they already care deeply about the music Soundgarden made during their first run. At least the band is present again.

A quick word on the song selection for this list. You’ll notice that there are a few rock radio staples absent, tracks that would dominate a Soundgarden greatest hits compilation and many would most readily associate with the band. I’m not trying to troll you or be contrarian, I’m honestly just sick of hearing “Black Hole Sun,” and I’d have to imagine most people would be sick of reading about it, too. What follows are ten of Soundgarden’s most enduring, interesting, best-written songs — ten I would recommend to a new fan, ten I would posit as the stuff that still makes this band exciting and worth attention from artists of my own generation. Some are hits, some aren’t. If you’re up for that, here’s my admittedly idiosyncratic take on Soundgarden’s ten best songs.

10. “Loud Love” (from Louder Than Love, 1989)

The almost-title-track to Soundgarden’s second album, “Loud Love” remains a high water mark of their earlier, more overtly metallic sound. It begins distant, with a dual set of wails — Kim Thayil’s mutated feedback intro, oft-mistaken for an e-bow, bleeding directly into Cornell’s rising scream. It’s curious at first, but gripping as soon as it lands. “Loud Love” is a key example of how the band was so adept at crafting grooves that were heavy and infectious at the same time, contrary to their frequent protestations of pop-aversion. Not that “Loud Love” is bubblegum, but it took the vaguely artsy brooding that characterized their first two albums, and whipped it into a new form. Where some of the earlier, more sludgy-riffed Soundgarden songs could get a little ponderous, “Loud Love” was propulsive even while mid-tempo, boasting solid melodies while still giving you something to bang your head to, making it an early example of a dichotomy that would run through their career.

9. “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” (from Badmotorfinger, 1991)

While much of Soundgarden’s third album, Badmotorfinger, was still firmly within their brand of alternative-tinged metal, “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” pointed towards the stylistic expansion that would come with its follow-up Superunknown. Though not devoid of the aggression that characterizes much of Badmotorfinger, “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” leans towards psychedelia. Cornell’s verse melodies are spacey, mantra-like, but anchored by the rumble of Shepherd’s bass, which is particularly massive in the first verse, before Thayil starts adding riffs over it. Though it can be hard to discern meanings from Cornell’s lyrics sometimes, “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” also feels like a thematic centerpiece to Badmotorfinger. “Is it to the sky, is it to the sky?/ Looking to the sky and down/ Searching for a ground/ With my good eye closed,” Cornell sings in the chorus, summing up a sense of disillusionment, anger, or confusion with the outside world that his lyrics seem to grapple with throughout Badmotorfinger. What might have passed as revery in the verses soon gets torn asunder, Cornell’s increasingly desperate repetitions of “Is it to the sky?” growing into an outro of screamed questions and gnarled guitar solos from all sides, reminding you that there’s little solace to be found on Badmotorfinger.

8. “Fresh Tendrils” (from Superunknown, 1994)

Soundgarden’s masterwork Superunkown is made up fifteen songs, each essential in their own way, clocking in at a total of 70 minutes. Dominated by the singles that would garner the band their biggest mainstream success, there’s bound to be some gems that get lost in the shuffle. Long one of the most overlooked songs of Soundgarden’s catalog, “Fresh Tendrils” was penned by Matt Cameron, an important reminder that while Cornell was responsible for some of the band’s most recognizable songs, Cameron and Shepherd were integral contributors when it came to fleshing out the band’s stranger sides. That weird, rhythmic melody underneath the guitars in the verse? That’s a clavinet, of all things, an instrument so readily associated with funk music (think Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”), used here to a kind of persistent, guttural effect. It’s one of those subtle moves that immediately makes a Soundgarden song feel a little weird, the element that takes it beyond a normal grunge song and into a more singular headspace. God knows what the title’s supposed to refer to, but many of the lyrics seem to allude to substance abuse of some sort. The constricted groove of the verses boil over into choruses with Cornell singing “Shame, shame/ Throw yourself away/ Give me little bits of/ More than I can take/ If it sits upon your tongue/ Or naked in your eyes/ Give me little bits of/ More than I can try.” It feels like the rhythm of addiction, the pressure getting tighter and tighter until, finally, something has to break.

7. “Pretty Noose” (from Down On The Upside, 1996)

It seems like Down On The Upside gets a bad rap in hindsight, written off as a worn, drawn-out gasp of a swan song, a blurrier successor to Superunknown. That’s all true, but that’s also why it’s always been one of the most interesting, and best, Soundgarden albums. Down On The Upside feels rawer and world-wearied, a vulnerable, almost shambling version of Soundgarden that was rarely glimpsed in all the metallic precision of their earlier records. “Pretty Noose” is a perfect opener for it, Thayil’s wah-assisted guitar providing a languid moan of an intro. Though a pretty successful single in its own right, “Pretty Noose” didn’t reach some of the pop heights of the Superunkown singles. Maybe it’s because of the fact that it hasn’t been subjected to the same overexposure via ad-nauseum radio replays in the interim years between Soundgarden’s dissolution and reunion, but “Pretty Noose” also still feels fresher than those songs. Which is a bit ironic, given how much it encapsulates the relative dustiness of Down On The Upside. I guess it comes down to the fact that with much of Soundgarden’s music remaining so assured and monolithic, it’s thrilling to hear them sound a bit battered.

6. “Head Down” (from Superunknown, 1994)

Ben Shepherd was responsible for the two trippiest moments on Superunknown: the Middle Eastern-tinged interlude “Half,” and “Head Down.” A thing of otherworldly, unsettling grace, Soundgarden never recorded anything else quite like “Head Down,” though it could certainly be located as a genesis point for some of the explorations that would later occur on Down On The Upside. Superunknown is a primarily dark affair, not as screeching or hard-edged as Badmotorfinger, but plenty grinding and despairing in its own ways. “Head Down” is too unnerving to be considered a moment of lightness from all that, but it feels like a detour that simultaneously deepens the character of the album. It was with psychedelic tracks like this that Soundgarden marked the borders of their new expansive sound. It glides rather than thrashes, but it seeps out of the same darkened mind and heart as the rest of Superunknown. “We hear you cry/ We hear you wail/ We steal that smile from your face,” Cornell sings, later ending the song with “Head down, head down, head down, hide that smile/ Head high, head high, head high, you got to smile.” It’s all delivered in a smooth, almost-detached lilt, proving that sometimes the best way to be haunting is not through heavy guitars and screams, but through the misleading sweetness of a strangely tuned guitar and an enticing rhythm.

5. “Outshined” (from Badmotorfinger, 1991)

Out of any of the songs on this list, “Outshined” perhaps still feels the most rooted to its particular time and place but, man, who even cares. It still sounds incredible. Featuring one of the most memorable riffs of the ’90s, “Outshined” possesses a simple but unforgettable power. It was almost as if Soundgarden had figured out how to distill all of their late ’80s work into one perfectly streamlined, catchier package. But while it spoke of their own past, it also laid groundwork for the definition of a genre. Played with a drop-D tuning — which would become de rigueur in ’90s alt-rock — and with Cornell singing in a slightly lower register than usual, “Outshined” now sounds like a prototypical grunge song that is at once a classic and an unfortunate blueprint for a lot of bad post-grunge bands. What their host of imitators missed was those details that, despite maybe not overly evident to most listeners, give Soundgarden’s music its uniqueness. In this case, it’s the way the 7/4 time signature makes the verses serpentine rather than lumbering. Any lesser band would turn this riff into a neanderthal chug. With Soundgarden, it has a swagger that’s still potent.

4. “Fell On Black Days” (from Superunknown, 1994)

One of Soundgarden’s most famous singles, “Fell On Black Days” is one of the moments where Cornell’s meaning is actually plain and relatable, not obscured and purely introspective. Though the phrase “fell on black days” easily evokes the idea of depression, there’s a specificity to it. For Cornell, it’s the realization of the depression. As he told Melody Maker in 1994: “You’re happy with your life, everything’s going well, things are exciting — when all of a sudden you realize you’re unhappy in the extreme, to the point of being really, really scared. There’s no particular event you can pin the feeling down to…” In some ways, that’s one of the most unsettling concepts of any of Soundgarden’s material, but it’s deployed through one of their more pop-friendly songs. Despite revolving around a 6/4 riff, “Fell On Black Days” doesn’t feel off-kilter in any way. Rather, it’s mellow in a way that the band had never been up until that point, with Thayil looking back and describing it as “subdued.” That initially irked Thayil, maybe because the song’s relative accessibility (including that gorgeous guitar break at 2:20) blurred its meaning. At any rate, it’s aged incredibly well — you know it’s a classic ’90s song, but unlike some of the other songs on this list it wouldn’t necessarily sound strange if a band put it out today.

3. “Blow Up The Outside World” (Down On The Upside, 1996)

From the start, Down On The Upside centers on a destructive relationship with the world around you. “I caught the moon today/ Pick it up and throw it away, all right,” Cornell sings in the beginning of “Pretty Noose,” a sentiment carried on and expanded in “Blow Up the Outside World.” Musically, it’s an outlier for Soundgarden, or at least for Thayil, who delved into a bluesier style of playing for his solos. Even more so than on Superunknown, Cornell was moving away from his high, metal-indebted wails and singing more soulfully, emphasizing the increasing prominence of pop influences on the band’s music. While those moments are part of the continuing stylistic expansion that came with Down On The Upside, they also seem to expose the way the band was splitting and fraying, stubbornly pulling in various directions — Thayil’s bluesy solo here is more or less a concession, for a moment tabling his frustration with the album’s less riff-based approach. One of the last singles Soundgarden released in their initial run, “Blow Up the Outside World” became a sort of final statement on a whole lot of things at once. It was a personal frustration, an individual narrative put forth by Cornell about the idea of wanting to destroy all the structures around you just to be left alone. You could say it meant the same thing for the band on two levels: their collective frustration with the binds of the music industry (each member has at some point attributed their initial breakup to the “business” ruining Soundgarden) or their individual frustrations with Soundgarden itself. Arriving in late ’96, it felt like more of a generational statement than its more famous cousin “Black Hole Sun.” For a set of alternative-minded musicians who stumbled into massive fame, then hated it, “Blow Up the Outside World” was one more wearied attempt at letting the world know just how much they didn’t want to be a part of it.

2. “Jesus Christ Pose” (from Badmotorfinger, 1991)

“Jesus Christ Pose” was saddled with controversy upon its release. Some listeners took issue with what they perceived as a critique on Christianity, and MTV decided to ban the song’s video primarily because of the image of a woman crucified. The song was misunderstood, being not so much enraged with religion as with the way famous people co-opt religious imagery when they want to seem superior to other people. “You just see it a lot with really beautiful people, or famous people, exploiting that symbol as to imply that they’re either a deity or persecuted somehow by their public,” Cornell told SPIN in 1992, and he’d later cite Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell as a prime example. Despite a nonreligious Cornell having no personal stake in how people used Christian imagery, the song is one of the most biting, aggressive things Soundgarden ever recorded. This is largely thanks to the instrumentation — Soundgarden sounds like such a powerful unit here, every member furiously thrashing away unabated for nearly six minutes, but never deviating from the solidity of the whole song. The sum is an unrelenting maelstrom emanating out from Cameron’s frenetic drum pattern. Collectively, it’s one of those perfect Soundgarden moments that feels mechanistic and animalistic at once, with Thayil characterizing the song’s groove as sounding like “helicopter blades.” It’s been twenty-two years and this thing still sounds punishing.

1. “The Day I Tried to Live” (from Superunknown, 1994)

“The Day I Tried to Live” is a quintessential example of almost everything that made Soundgarden great and unique. It features one of their weirdest alternate tunings (EEBBBB, compared to the traditional EADGBE) and alternates between 7/4 and 4/4. Each move is characteristic of their writing style, but “The Day I Tried to Live” is maybe the best example of how Soundgarden could subtly incorporate odd tricks into rock music, giving their music a slight exoticism without descending into gimmickry. In this instance, they give the song a dissonant, hypnotic pull. It’s still a bit heavy, but doesn’t sacrifice the hooks. It’s some of the band’s best songwriting, strengthened by some great vocal melodies that have ensured that the song has aged particularly well. The poppy qualities might’ve struck some fans with another sort of dissonance, given that many have interpreted “The Day I Tried to Live” as a suicide note of a song. Rather, it turns out it’s one of the few hopeful moments in Soundgarden’s catalog. Like so much of Superunknown, it does deal with themes of depression and alienation, but the idea behind the phrase is a man trying to move past his tendency to withdraw from other people and the world at large, and even though he keeps failing, “One more time around/ might do it.” There’s a lot of darkness on Superunknown, and in Soundgarden’s career in general, and this glimmer of brightness feels not only earned, but crucial. “The Day I Tried to Live” might not be the band’s most famous song, but it has everything that Soundgarden excelled at, with less characteristic flourishes for added depth. It’s still one of the most rewarding songs they’ve ever recorded.

Listen to the Spotify playlist here.

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Comments (82)
  1. Dude, Mailman should be on here. Gives me chills every time…

  2. It’s nice to see some love for the Down on the Upside singles. And I think we’re ok leaving off Black Hole Sun. Kudos for recognizing Head Down. Superunknown’s stranger moments are what made me fall in love with this band.

    • Agreed, sometimes I feel like I’m the only Soundgarden fan that gives Down On The Upside much love. On that note, hooray for “Pretty Noose” making the list! Still my all time favorite SG tune.

      • Ohhh aaaand, while on the Down On The Upside topic, I TOTALLY would of included “Ty Cobb” on my list. And “Burden In My Hand.” Ok, I seriously just love the whole album. I’m done now.

        • my upvotes to you. that’s also my favorite soundgarden album, by virtue of listening to it nearly nonstop at the ripe age of 12 (i listened to a lot of superunknown back then, too, but i nearly played my down on the upside CD to death).

          ty cobb and burden are great (better than blow up the outside world, imo), but for me, it’s all about zero chance. i’d definitely put that in my top 3 overall, and nobody would agree. which i’m cool with.

          • And an upvote to you! My CD is also to the point of beyond recognition. I purchased it in my sophomore year of high school in ’97 so it’s definitely seen it’s share of beatings since then. I actually got curious after thinking about all this and checked to see if DOTU was even available on vinyl ’cause I definitely would consider picking it back up on that format. And it is… but it’s going for upwards of $100, yikes. There goes that idea!

          • so stacy z, does that mean that you’re buy curious?

          • Haaa! Damn, ya caught me.

    • I am not ok with leaving off Black Hole Sun, I am lighting fireworks for leaving off Black Hole Sun. I like Soundgarden, but that song… not their best day.

  3. Picking the best Soundgarden songs is like picking your favorite child. You love them all equally.

  4. Um…Rusty Cage? Is this thing on?

    • Of course, this list could be made entirely of songs from Badmotorfinger and I’d be cool with it. Some of my favorites not listed here: 4th of July, Rhinosaur, No Attention, Drawing Flies, Slaves and Bulldozers, Holy Water, and Dusty.

      Shit…maybe I just love Soundgarden.

  5. I expected a few faves to be left off (4th of July and Hands All Over) but I’m really surprised at how heavy this list is on “Down On the Upside while going light on “Louder Than Love” and omitting “Ultramega OK” completely.

  6. I was dreading this list. Soundgarden is an album band, not a singles band. Their singles aren’t bad but most of their other songs are as good if not better than the A sides. So its nice to see spoonman and blackhole sun omitted. I think there are songs on Down on the upside that are far more exciting and replayable than Blow up the Outside World (like the 9/8 Never the machine forever) but this is your list not mine. Great Job overall… can’t go wrong with a list that includes Head Down and FreshTindrils which showcase what I think is one of best rhythem sections of all time.

  7. I didn’t expect to disagree with this so much, but I do. Seriously, no “Superunknown”??

  8. All ten entries on this list should be “4th of July.” OK, maybe nine.

  9. Nice! I’m glad to see some “Blow Up The Outside World” love. That’s by far my fav. There are a few I miss, “Spoonman” maybe. But definitely “Burden In My Hand”. Cornell’s voice rarely sounded better.

  10. Great list, I’m so glad Spoon Man and Black Hole Sun didn’t make the cut but what about Slaves and Bulldozers?

  11. Superunknown came out in 1994, same week as NIN’s the Downward Spiral.

    No worries from my end about leaving off the worn out radio songs, though I am finding that not having listened to any of those Alt rock staples for a decade or so, I am once again starting to like them again every once in a while.

    Soundgarden was always pretty workmanlike, dependable for some great songs but never really seeming to have much of a personality. I think that’s why they got forgotten. In a way, Audioslave is much more popular; I definitely feel like I come across more of their songs in bars, public places, etc.

    As for songs you left off, I don’t really have any strong feelings there. Big Dumb Sex is a good time, and I like those punkish tunes like Ty Cobb and Kickstand. Also, I think you could have put in a good word for their pre-major label stuff like Nothing to Say.

  12. “Spoonman” is fun, but not one of their best in my mind..

    so glad “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” and “Head Down” were included – definitely the highlight of their respective albums. I remember tripping balls on my Walkman when i was a kid to the opening of “Searching”.. “the devil says…..whhhhhhhhaaa”

    but yeah, nice list

  13. Aaron Cunningham  |   Posted on Aug 22nd, 2013 +1

    “Birth Ritual,” “Tighter and Tighter,” and “4th of July” first. Then you pick seven other songs. Then your list is done!

  14. I would’ve upped this list to 15 songs. Maybe 20. Maybe. Some songs I think at least deserve honorable mention here: My Wave, Burden in My Hand, Zero Chance, and (bear with me on this one) Bones of Birds from their latest album.

  15. Jeez, I’d have trouble picking my favorite 10 just from Badmotorfinger. Everything after is good, in a more polished commercial-y sort of way – but BMF is an aggro masterpiece.

  16. come on BOOT CAMP

  17. Hands all over? way too many later year soundgarden songs for my liking.

  18. Me reading choices 10 through 2: “What about ‘The Day I tried to Live’?”

    Me reading #1: :-)

  19. I’m totally cool with the list!
    Except… :)
    Room a Thousand Years Wide needs to added pronto

  20. The Day I Tried to Live is #1? I can’t agree with that. I’m not sure I’d put it on my top 10 at all. But at least you left off Black Hole Sun. I was worried that would show up. Rusty Cage should be on here.

  21. I will now probably listen to Fresh Tendrils 25 times remainder of this week.
    Thanks for that…

  22. I just finished reading this whole article and I think it is very well written and he is clearly a fan. The point of these lists isn’t just listing off top 10s, there are enough of those on the internet. It’s about how the author relates to the songs and his personal reseans for liking this band. Turns out it is for many of the same reasons I do…summed up well in his reasons for his number one pick. I love that he gets into the lyrics and pays attention to the time signatures, which is something that sets Soundgarden apart from most mainstream bands.

  23. >opens pages, scrolls down to make sure “Black Hole Sun” is #1″Black Hole Sun” is not #1sees “Black Hole Sun” isn’t even on listwrites off Stereogum forever<

  24. If Black Hole Sun was an obscure B-Side and not their world-conquering single, you’d have put it number one. Admit it.

  25. Maybe I just dig their moodier slow jams more, but “Zero Chance,” “Limo Wreck,” and “Boot Camp” would all be on my list.

    I agree with what was said about King Animal… but “Attrition” gets my tailfeather shakin’ !

  26. You could have at least put Black Hole Sun on the list.

  27. DUDE! No HANDS ALL OVER? That song blew me away the first time i heard it. SLAVES AND BULLDOZERS! that was the song Rick Ruben had Tom Morello listen to when they were looking for a lead singer for audioslave. BLEED TOGETHER! I mean gosh…..I commend the writer for the article, but dude……….Never make a top 10 list of Soundgarden….there is no such thing. They are all top 10.

  28. oh…and MIND RIOT? lo

  29. Nice article, and yes, a very difficult exercise. The following easily could have made the top ten: Tighter & Tigher, Drawing Flies, 4th of July, Taree, My Wave, Slaves & Bulldozers, etc. Oh, and that one other long, weird song towards the end of Down On The Upside…I’m going to have to run and check the name because it’s going to drive me insane…Overfloater!

    • Great call on “Overfloater.” I’m pleasantly surprised to see so many people riding for DOTU here. I didn’t expect that at all, let alone multiple mentions for “Boot Camp” or “Tighter & Tighter.” While we’re at it, “Switch Opens” is awesome, too.

  30. NIN and Soundgarden are my two favorite bands. So this week is such a bonus for me on the ‘gum. Having said that, I think this list is okay. There are soooooo many good Soundgarden songs, it is difficult to get a definitive list. Here is my top ten in no particular order except for my #1 slot:

    1. Beyond the Wheel
    2. Searching with My Good Eye Closed
    3. Zero Chance
    4. Tighter & Tighter
    5. Boot Camp
    6. Rowing
    7. Big Dumb Sex
    8. Mailman
    9. Fell on Black Days
    10. Limo Wreck

  31. I think Ryan’s list is pretty crowd pleasing. We have a few in common, I love all soundgarden… so mix tapes are hard…but here is mine.

    1)Room A Thousand Years Wide
    2)Jesus Christ Pose
    3) Never The Machine Forever
    4)Head Down
    5)Fresh Tendrils
    6)An Unkind
    7)Tighter and Tighter
    8)Like Suicide
    9)Outshined
    10) The Day I Tried To Live

    I love all of their earlier albums and eps…and maybe the fact that I’m a bass player (ben shepard, post louder than love) and drummer plays into it, but in my opinion they got better and better every album.

  32. I was really hoping Somewhere would be on this list. I think it’s the best song they ever wrote. Also, Fopp, Hands all over and Uncovered should be considered.

  33. The fact that I have always dismissed this band because I hate “Black Hole Sun” more than most things on this planet, and the fact that it’s not on this list, has convinced me to give Soundgarden another shot. But until I actually do that, which could very well be never, feel free to pretend I made some kind of joke about butt rock and downvote this comment.

  34. 1: slaves and bulldozers
    2: beyond the wheel
    3: searching with my good eye closed
    4: gun
    5: head down
    6: nothing to say
    7: 4th of july
    8: jesus christ pose
    9: mind riot
    10: room a thousand years wide

    hon mention: their cover of devo’s “girl u want” is fucking amazing.

    but in all honesty, unless slaves and bulldozers is on that list i can’t take it seriously. and nothing from ultramega ok? no beyond the wheel? that song is like a fucking wrecking ball.

  35. Anyone heard the new Ben Shephard record? So far it is way fresher than the new Soundgarden. They should have used Bens album as their starting point for writing. Matt Cameron is great on it too!

  36. They have always been one of my favorite bands. After seeing them live on the Badmotorfinger tour, I was sure they were one of the best bands ever. I’ll give you credit for most of this list but “Fell On Black Days” annoys me as much as “Black Hole Sun” and really the rest of their underwhelming “Superunknown” album. I remember most of the long time fans were pretty disgusted with the mainstream sound of that album. It really pales in comparison to their real masterpiece “Badmotorfinger”. You did pick 2 of the best cuts on SUK(how ironic). “Head Down” and “The Day I Tried To Live”(great lyrics), as well as the title track are about the only things worth listening to for me. After a few years I personally think “Down On The Upside” is actually a better album than SUK, but nothing they’ve ever done comes close to BMF.
    My List:
    01. JC Pose
    02. Rusty Cage
    03. Hands All Over
    04. Room A Thousand Years Wide
    05. New Damage
    06. Slaves & Bulldozers
    07. Overfloater
    08. Superunknown
    09. Beyond The Wheel
    10. Mind Riot

  37. Props to Jim Rountree. Their cover of “Girl U Want” is really great.

  38. Soundgarden is a band from my childhood… I love them! Chris is a great musician! I made a playlist (with music videos) on Minilogs, with this 10 best songs from Soundgarden! Enjoy : http://minilogs.com/s4zt1j4

  39. 4TH OF FUCKING JULY
    room a thousand years wide
    mailman
    limo wreck

  40. even though it’s been fucked out by radio, i wouldn’t have minded if black hole sun made the back 5

    but honestly, this list is a total abomination without slaves & bulldozers

  41. Rusty Cage. All I can say.

  42. burden in my hand, rusty cage, my wave

  43. TIED: 1. Head Down/Like Suicide
    3. Fresh Tendrils
    4. Superunknown
    5. Limo Wreck
    6. 4th Of July
    7. Rusty Cage
    8. Fell On Black Days
    9. Outshined
    10. Jesus Christ Pose

  44. Ok, like someone else said. its like picking favorite children…
    But, since you tried doing it, I think its a pretty fair list,,,
    It would be hard to pick just 10 off Badmotorfinger and Superunknown.. (like most everyone elses’ list here)
    Too much great material?… Is that even a thing?

    BUT- if you are gonna go with Loud Love? That kinda plays in my heart like Black hole Sun.. I just heard it way to damn much… Hand All Over would have been “PC” but “I Awake” or even “Gun” would have been more in line with other selections…

  45. This list lives like a martyr
    how it flies so sweetly
    this list lives like a martyr
    but it dies
    just like suicide

    • oh shizz please don’t tell me it’s martyr…cause all these years I’ve been singing she lived like a murder!

      Anyone got love for the 12 string acoustic version? It’s incredible.

  46. Spoonman and Outshined ftw!

  47. 1. Rusty Cage
    2. Burden in My Hand
    3. Blow Up the Outside World
    4. The Day I Tried to Live
    5. New Damage (BRUTAL ending)
    6. Hands All Over
    7. Fell on Black Days
    8. Jesus Christ Pose
    9. Ty Cobb
    10. 4th of July

    I see that a number of people were happy about their inclusion, but “Fresh Tendrils” and “Head Down”, while cool songs, aren’t ones I’d have even thought about for my list.

    Still, so many good songs, and such a shame Cornell lost the magic. He was one of my favorite vocalists and lyricists during the original Soundgarden run, and he has neither going for him now.

  48. No 4th Of July and NOT A SINGLE SONG FROM SIDE-B OF DOWN ON THE UPSIDE?! C’mon now son!

    Go listen to Tighter & Tighter and No Attention and Overfloater and Boot Camp again. Your ears miss them.

  49. MY WAVE OR GTFO

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