Sound — 10
This is a collection of Soundgarden's songs that were popular. They were very hesitant to call it a greatest hits album. The great part about this CD is that it does a great job of showing the diversity of Soundgarden's sound. It starts out with a couple of their early songs (Screaming Life-Ultramega OK) that show their raw talent, heaviness and energy. Chris Cornell's voice and Kim Thayil's great riffing skills really shine through on the first two songs. Then next couple of songs come from Louder Than Love, the first grunge album to be released for a major label. They still have the energy and heaviness of early work but they are clearly starting to hone their skills. The rest of the songs are polished gems from Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and Down on the Upside. The production quality increases exponentially on these songs. The songs become more intricate, deeper and more meaningful without losing the heaviness. "Black Hole Sun" is just one of many amazing songs on this album. "Jesus Christ Pose", the only song credited to the whole band, starts with an awe-inspiring drum line and slowly builds to some of the heaviest bass and guitar work from the 90s, not to mention Cornell's stronger-than-ever vocals.
Lyrics — 10
These aren't your basic lovey-dovey, sexual-innuendo-filled, any-dufus-with-half-a-brain-could-have-written-this lyrics. Cornell has always been an amazing lyricist and songwriter and this CD really showcases his talents. The depth of these songs is amazing, though "Ty Cobb" isn't exactly the most meaningful of songs. Anyone can relate to the angst and frustration of "Outshined", "Fell on Black Days", "Blow up the Outside World" and "The Day I Tried to Live". Every song's lyrics bring something new to the table and they get better and better as the album goes on. Each song's lyrics perfectly compliment the music behind it. Cornell is one of the best vocalists of all time and his prowess really shines through on this CD.
Overall Impression — 10
This is the album that got me into Soundgarden. Admittedly, I only got this album for about 5 songs but when I listened to the rest of them I was blown away. That's another great thing about this album: there are 17 songs on this album so you're really getting your money's worth. There is not a single song that doesn't belong on this album and it is better than any greatest hits compilation I have heard. "Black Hole Sun" is one of the greatest songs ever created but it is only one of the great songs on this album. My only criticism is that there were so many great songs that didn't make it; this isn't a greatest hits album though, it's just a collection of their more popular songs. Because of this, a number of great songs like "Hunted Down", "Mood for Trouble", "Uncovered", "Slaves and Bulldozers", "Superunknown" and "Zero Chance", to name a few, were left off. I guess that just gives listeners more incentive to buy the other albums, which I highly recommend doing. If my copy of A-Sides was stolen, I would hunt down the individual who stole it, kill him with my bare hands and take it back. If my copy becomes damaged beyond use, I would buy another copy without giving it a second thought. Great collection.