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“Dolby’s 12 Days of Soundgarden: Day 12 (Dolby’s Top 25 Soundgarden Songs)”

Well, this is it, friends. We’re really saying goodbye. Chris Cornell, that great Los Angelean we all know and love, writer of such classic songs as “Plush,” “Killing in the Name” and “Self-Esteem” is really gone. Detroit did him in. He**, I dunno how many times Detroit almost did me in.
So yeah, I made this list. More pathetic blogger pomposity. What even is it? To be honest, I put it together around day three or four or so of this saga, and since then (along with the weather itself) my mind has gone through a sort of shift from numbness into deep, overwhelming sadness, back finally into the phase where I can normally listen to music again. In times like this I go to good ol’ classic rock — anthems potent enough to converse with the incredible carnage of the 1960s.
So I’m planning on listening to these songs again. Really. I really am. Just not now. At least, not in the traditional sense. At no time soon will I put in the entire album Superunknown while washing dishes at Brothers Bar and Grill in South Bend, Indiana, or put in the whole album Down on the Upside while cooking at the Copper Bar in Terre Haute, Indiana. You wanna know why? Soundgarden’s music makes an IMPRESSION. It’s larger than life. And the one sure thing is that somebody would ask about it, so I’d have to explain Chris Cornell’s story. Hey, at least I wouldn’t drag Audioslave into the picture.

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25 “An Unkind” (Down on the Upside)
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I’ve been on this whole simple/complex kick lately, the result of reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and I’ve got an incredible affinity for simple things in life, like “An Unkind,” a straight-ahead, ripping number off a very underrated album by a band which had started with stadium bombast, only to branch out to power chords and technical auto racing.
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24 “Fresh Tendrils” (Superunknown)
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I’ve met one person in my life who didn’t like this song and he’s a total di** head. Great forgiving breath of fresh air on side b after a good ol’ seven course meal of sonic brutality that is this 10-times platinum album as a whole.
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23 “Boot Camp” (Down on the Upside)
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I’ve only ranked this song 23rd, but I’ve got a special relationship with it — it was the perfect soundtrack for leaving my hometown for college: “There must be something else / There must be something good / Far away / Far away from here”. By the way, I think he says “And smoke gets in your eyes,” a musical allusion to an old jazz standard. Yes, these bands did have taste, as much as they seemingly tried to hide it sometimes.
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22 “Zero Chance” (Down on the Upside)
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Whoo, goin’ Upside crazy here early on! These songs made the list, but they didn’t best the Superunknown numbers, and in fact this perfectly sums up Upside’s identity. And for some reason there’s this weird polarization that says like either Upside is their best album or else it like initiated a second holocaust or something — I’m somewhere in between… it’s not as good as its predecessor but a viable bookend (and I don’t even acknowledge that newer Soundgarden crap) to a great band’s career, every bit full of muscle and melody to warrant thorough, repeated listens.
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21 “Mailman” (Superunknown)
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I’ve never actually SEEN the document, but I’ve heard that one publication (I believe from what I remember it might have been Spin) actually ranked Superunknown the #1 album of the ‘90s. One thing’s for sure: to make an album like that a band’s gotta have versatility and so along with the poppiness of “Spoonman” and the punk swagger of “Kickstand” we have “Mailman” and “Limo Wreck” which deliberately, oozing like molasses, hark back to the gritty original days of grunge.
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20 “Dusty” (Down on the Upside)
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THIS SONG. I point to THIS SONG and say… how the he** could any human being not like this album. I’m sure there’s some term for this — where the song is not a titled track but the album title is cited within the song’s lyrics. This track executes that with rhythmic timeliness and brilliant metaphorical ambiguity. Ironically, this song is far more approachable than probably any of the singles released off Upside with the exception of “Burden in My Hand.”
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19 “Mind Riot” (Badmotorfinger)
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One of the slower songs on Badmotorfinger is also one of the most powerful, thereby flawlessly presaging the overall grunge m.o. while possibly also inimitably perfecting it, all at once.
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18 “Like Suicide” (Superunknown)
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Sigh.
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17 “Applebite” (Down on the Upside)
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Great quasi-instrumental here… again, critics, anyone care to actually LISTEN to this album? That’s usually an advantageous prerequisite for rating it, last time I checked.
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16 “Bleed Together” (A-Sides)
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Interesting selection here for the band’s greatest hits collection — I find it highly unlikely that this song would have been a throwaway from any of the band’s album sessions, excepting the instance of them just having too many songs for an album. He**, maybe it was just too happy to make a Soundgarden album. I mean, it is about bleeding together, and all that jazz.
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15 “Half” (Superunknown)
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Ben Shepherd is life. The rest is just details.
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14 “Blow up the Outside World” (Down on the Upside/A-Sides)
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As I stated before, I once witnessed an entire packed-in dorm room smoking hookah and rocking out to this song. And then I called the cops on them, ‘cause I was just on patrol for young ne’er-do-wells denigrating our fine democratic society.
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13 “Ty Cobb” (Down on the Upside/A-Sides)
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“Ty Cobb.” I know there are stories about this old baseball player being like a drunken psycho, violent, etc… I’m not going to look them up, but it does thematically relate to how this song is sort of a loose screw which everybody treats as if it belongs and ingratiates to the other songs with perfect normalcy. The weirdest part may be the gentle half-minute Flamenco intro.
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12 “The Day I Tried to Live” (Superunknown/A-Sides)
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Along with just the audio realm itself, Soundgarden had a great knack for making videos (or being the subjects of videos, however you want to look at it)… but with “The Day I Tried to Live” I think the audio itself is just such a noxious vial of feeling and antipathy against the world that I think the video would just be too sketchy — the song makes a strong enough impression by itself.
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11 “Rusty Cage” (Badmotorfinger/A-Sides)
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A song good enough to be covered by Johnny Cash… I especially like it for the slowed down part around the middle eight section and, well, all of the lyrics, including but not limited to “And it’s raining ice picks on your steel shore”.
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10 “Pretty Noose” (Down on the Upside/A-Sides)
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Sigh.
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9 “Superunknown” (Superunknown)
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Literally, just like six months ago, I’d made this share on facebook of this exact song wherein I voiced that I have a different favorite song on this album every time I listen to it. Chris Cornell just had this strange, preternatural lyrical AUTHORITY with the way he delivered these clear (but ultimately alternative-minded) messages, and when he yowled them out, you always listened, remembering them ’til the next person you talked to, to whom you’d spew them only to have other fleeting tenets supplant them. Or something.
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8 “Kickstand” (Superunknown)
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Great song here… subject of day 8 of D12DOS… certified resident stander-upper.
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7 “Fell on Black Days” (Superunknown/A-Sides)
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This I have to say was the first ‘garden song I TRULY fell in love with, putting it on a mixtape ironically with Suicide Machines who rip on Chris Cornell in “Vans Song” and who, even more ironically and darkly, hail originally from Detroit.
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6 “Outshined” (Badmotorfinger/A-Sides)
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Rocking out to this song in May and binge drinking during the daytime Little 500 bike races at IU while you have no interest in biking or plans to go to the races is officially not the ticket to success, but it is the ticket to probably being a true Soundgarden fan, for better or worse.
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5 “Burden in My Hand” (Down on the Upside/A-Sides)
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Ah, just a classic. Great video — this acts as yang to “The Day I Tried to Live” by associating with a refreshingly minimalist video depicting the “desert” which is a theme rendered lyrically in the song. They asked Chris Cornell about religion in one interview, which I think is stupid — right here we have “Down below the truth is lying / Beneath the river bed”. It’s apparently not in the scripture, then.
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4 “Black Hole Sun” (Superunknown/A-Sides)
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Big, physical music — the glory days of Matt Cameron, another brilliant video to accompany it, the band’s paradoxical, self-defeating statement on their iconic album Superunknown that surely ingratiated them to the more misanthropic, psychopathic and violent of frat boys. Hey, don’t look at me.
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3 “Drawing Flies” (Badmotorfinger)
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Drawing flies is awesome! Or, it is when you’re listening to this song, another great restaurant back-of-house serenade of something that’s not quite punk, not quite grunge, but definitely full of undeniable volume.
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2 “Spoonman” (Superunknown/A-Sides)
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Probably the band’s most successful radio single leading up through this very day, and one of the band’s most covered songs (although I think trying to cover Soundgarden is like trying to make a house out of cream cheese frosting, see you Johnny Cash)… an almost perfect song but what’s up with that stupid increase in production volume going into the last chorus?
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1 “4th of July” (Superunknown)
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I’m taking a listener-response approach to my defense of Claudia Rankine this song first (since I sure as he** stand no chance at any other defense) — in this bar that’s now closed, dead, derailed, in 2005 they had one of those old school juke boxes with the flippy pages where you actually got THREE SONGS PER DOLLAR… imagine that… if only juke boxes were as affordable as gasoline nowadays, where my friend played “Luck Be a Lady Tonight” or whatever… I hate Sinatra… he’s married now and an accountant in a dentist office and I seem to be mired in an endless cycle of working sh** jobs and losing more and more hair on my head… well, it’s a hard thing to explain, really. So I won’t even try. Good night, good day, good luck with the melee.

27 thoughts on ““Dolby’s 12 Days of Soundgarden: Day 12 (Dolby’s Top 25 Soundgarden Songs)”

  1. Ah sympa ce coffret, moi la collectionneuse de miniatures.Bonne idée, même si j’en ai déja 2 du coffret lol Et pour les collectionneuse, j’ai trouvé un site wwpwmminiwarfum.co., où il y a pleins de miniatures.Mais pas de vitrine, dont je suis désespérement à la recherche lol

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