Down On The Upside Review

artist: Soundgarden date: 03/31/2010 category: compact discs
Soundgarden: Down On The Upside
Release Date: May 21, 1996
Label: A&M
Genres: Alternative Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Grunge, Alternative Metal
Number Of Tracks: 16
This is a deceptive album, it might seem like nothing more than heavy metal, but a closer listen reveals that Soundgarden haven't tempered their ambitions at all.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) 8 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
Down On The Upside Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 25, 2005
8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 10

Lyrics: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 10
Down On The Upside Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 28, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This Soundgarden album tends to be more artsy and psychedelic and less metal than the others. I love it. As soon as you pop this record in you can tell its going down a bit of a different path than their huge breakthrough album, Superunknown. I don't know why but this CD sort of fell out of reach from so called "fans" and the mainstream, but honestly I could care less. So what if it isnt played on the radio as much as Superunknown it dosent matter. They still are as good back in '96 as they were back in '84 when they formed. They were still capable as ever, just probably more creative and experienced. I love pschedelic and acoustic flare they add. It gives them a fresh new sound but any fan can tell they still have their signature sound. // 10

Lyrics: Cornell is one of the best ever. Period. Hes up there with Jim Morrison and Robert Plant. His lyrics are dark, creative, inspiring, and fresh. His vocals are, well were, some of the best ever. I mean were because during this time period he started to sound more like the vocalist he is today. And there is nothing bad about his singing, its just that its not as good as it was. Its not what it used to be. He was in his prime from 1989 to 1994. He had a great run, and most cant tell the difference between his vocals of Soundgarden and his vocals in Audioslave, but Soundgarden fans should. Hes getting old and its no big deal but the Cornell I love is when he had the long hair and the grungy attitude. But times changed and so did his voice and because of that he cant go as high as he used to and he cant do his wails. So singing is of course great, just not like it once was. // 10

Overall Impression: With this last cd of theirs its sad to see them go. They disbanded a year later in 1997. The only regret I have of being a fan is that I have never seen them live, because I would have been too young when they were around. They were one of the best and maybe the best band of the 90's. Definatly the best grunge band ever, but they were so much more than that. My favorites as of now are Pretty Noose, Zero Chancec (maybe my favorite), Dusty, Blow Up The Outside World, Burden In My Hand, Never The Machine Forever, Tighter and Tighter, Switch Opens, Overfloater, An Unkind, and Boot Camp. All are great though. If your a new garden' fan get Badmotorfinger or Superunknown first, then move on to the others, which are all great, even though their late 80's material is much harder to find. // 10

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overall: 6.7
Down On The Upside Reviewed by: Jaded7, on march 31, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: It was already established in Soundgarden's previous album that they were not a grunge band, but rather a bizarre alt-metal band that revived the Zeppelin/early-Sabbath sound that had almost disappeared throughout the 80's completely. With Superunknown, Soundgarden burst out into the mainstream with their raw and sludgy sounds. It was definitely their magnum opus and is, in my own opinion, one of the greatest metal albums of all time. With Down On The Upside, it's a completely different story. They have abandoned some of the more metal elements from Superunknown and try for a more mainstream alt-rock sound, which surprisingly is actually pretty good. The album starts off with "Pretty Noose," which is more of a harder Pink Floyd sound-a-like than it is a Masters Of Reality-era Black Sabbath sound-a-like. While it definitely is the highlight of the album, it could have definitely used more of a sludgy sound than psychadellic. The album goes on to the next couple of tracks: "Rhinosaur," "Zero Chance," and "Dusty." These songs still maintain that psychadellic feel while embracing a more alt-rock feel to them. In fact, these songs I can call true grunge; it shows that Soundgarden could mature and change as a band and move into mainstream grunge without any trouble. Then the album moves on to "Ty Cobb" which is probably the most out of place song on the album. It doesn't sound psychadellic nor does it sound like grunge. It sounds more like if the band tried to pull off a cover of a Blink-182 song. It's not necessarily a bad song, but it definitely is, compared to the other songs on the album, the worst song. The rest of the album is basically straight on grunge. There are times where the album will have its Superunknown moments, but those times are scarce and unrecognizable until you hear the album again and again. I'm not exactly putting the album down for this; it does try some new things sound-wise and they definitely do work. // 7

Lyrics: While the overall sound itself is not very Zeppelinish, Chris Cornell's vocals still are. His vocals blare through songs like "Pretty Noose" and "Overfloater" and are all around enjoyable. However, his vocals don't seem to match at times, considering that Down On The Upside lacks the Zeppelin/Sabbath sound it had in Superunknown. The lyrics however, work in every single area. They are a tad depressing at times, sure. But that's just the way grunge is. By reading the lyric booklet that came with the album, it is apparent that Chris Cornell didn't take the time to write some random BS down. // 6

Overall Impression: Overall, this is the black sheep within the entire Soundgarden discography. That's not necessarily bad though. Down On The Upside definitely showed signs of the band maturing when it was first released. It is to them as the Black Album is to Metallica; maturing as a band while diving into uncharted waters and creating an original, different, and cool sound. // 7

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