Posted by: markfender | November 12, 2013

Headphone Diaries – October 9, 1991

Another paragon of the Seattle scene.


This was Soundgarden’s first big album that everyone bought. It led to a couple hits and enough buzz that their next album proved to be a monstrous hit. I hesitate to stick them into the same categories that they tend to get lumped into. I don’t think they’re grunge at all, for instance. “Rusty Cage” has such a frenetic and fast riff that it doesn’t fit into grunge at all. If anything, I think they get lumped in because of Cornell’s voice. But there’s lots of times where he doesn’t sing in a particular grunge style. “Birth Ritual” or “Pretty Noose”, is entirely the falsetto style made famous by that other Seattle band, Queensryche.

I actually hate Soundgarden. Or, at least, Chris Cornell’s voice. I’m down with their particular metal style, but Cornell just sounds like he’s trying too hard in everything he does. Across the spectrum of his music, from Soundgarden to Audioslave, I’ve hated every iteration of his singing. I’m amazed he still has a voice, since you can hear it straining on everything he does. And I really hate Soundgarden because of “Black Hole Sun.”

On one hand, the fact that “Black Hole Sun” became as big a hit as it did is a bit of an anomaly. It’s not they typical rock ballad sort of song that usually becomes the crossover hit for metal bands. So that’s kind of interesting. But it’s still a godawful song. It’s so incredibly repetitive. Combine that with the bazillion times you heard it and it becomes a horrific earworm you can’t get rid of.

Has it aged well? It’s not a recognizable style of metal anymore.

Should this go on your iPod? Do you want to hear a lot of whine-singing? Then go ahead.

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