Sound — 10
Well, the first music video I ever saw (or can remember) was "Black Hole Sun" way back in '94. I never really listened to soundgarden until about last year and this was the first CD I actually bought of theirs. After listening to it I realized that not only is this Soundgarden's most underrated album but that it was my favorite out of everything I own. See, this album never got the commercial success it deserved because of the grunge era dying out around 1997-2000. This isn't to mean that grunge is dead, bands like Pearl Jam and Collective Soul are still around, its just that mainstream acceptance turned to (sadly) pop and dance hits. Yuck! Soundgarden when compared to other bands of there time are also very underrated. Their music is very intelligent and it still sounds great almost 10 years later. Sound is varied in this album from the psychedelic (Blow Up The Outside World), angry (No Attention), dark (Applebite, Overfloater) and even a little folk sounding (Ty Cobb, Burden In My Hand). Don't let these genres discourage you, each one is done in undeniable Soundgarden style.
Lyrics — 10
This is one of the highlights of the CD easily. Compared to other Soundgarden albums (which are also exceptional) these are definately the best. Chris Cornell is in my opinion the greatest singer of the entire grunge era and possibly now, even though the 1990's were his high point. Every single songs lyrics are very fitting and clever, and they are delivered just as well. A lot of the time if you focus on the lyrics they can be taken as very disturbing and dark, a prime example would be "Burden In My Hand" or "Overfloater" which rivals "4th Of July" as far as dark lyrics go. They can be very sentimental as well however like in "Zero Chance" (and no, this song is not about a girl, they're too creative for that one). Chris' voice is astounding on each song.
Overall Impression — 10
This is my favorite CD. Ever. And I can tell you, if more bands were as careful as what they released and written as well as this the musical world would be a better place. The best songs (in my opinion) are Pretty Noose (which is a great opener, too), Zero Chance, Burden in my Hand, Tighter and Tighter, and Bootcamp (which considering this is the last studio recording of theirs' is sadly prophetic). I love everything about this album especially the psychedelic tinge to it. My only problem is that it makes me wish Soundgarden hadn't disbanded. Audioslave is great, too, don't get me wrong, but I prefer this. It times out really well (about an hour and five minutes). If it were stolen, God forbid, I would steal it back and find a crappy album (Courtney Love's solo album anyone) and beat the F--er who stole it from me to death with it. If you see it I would highly (and I mean highly) suggest buying it.