Sound — 9
Superunknown can best be described as a musical journey. The range of styles on the record is nothing short of incredible. As the album wears on, it becomes evident this is Soundgardens most mature and solid album, without being too abstract. Fans of the heavier side of SG won't be disappointed, neither will those be searching for the softer side to their music. The music is more calculated, thought out and less raw than previous albums. What sets this band apart from most is their experimentation with things such as tunings and time signatures. "My Wave" and"The Day I Tried To Live", for example are in the tuning EEBBBB. It gives a remarkably full sound to the songs. "Like Suicide" is done in DGDGBC. Again, it's the sound that's they're trying to create as opposed to showing off. However, the use of abstract time signatures really stand out. Songs like "Limo Wreck", "Half", and "Day I Tried To Live" are all in the time sigs. But they are made so well that even the most trained ear may not spot this fact at first. As far as instrumentation goes, Soundgarden are hard to beat. Little intricacies are to be found throughout the album, aswell as the simple-but-effective approach. Kim is on top form, Chris is somewhere near his peak in singing (maybe just past it), Matt contributes very well to the album (listen to the drumming in "Head Down"), and Ben creates great independent basslines. Only critiscism is Kim's overuse of wah pedals in his solos, but otherwise excellent sound.
Lyrics — 8
Some of my personal favourite lyrics of all time come from this album. By far the best song lyrically is "4th Of July", a dark and gloomy song based on God knows what. Another lyrical highlight is "Like Suicide" ("She lived like a murder but she died, just like suicide"). At this stage Chris still has an amazing voice that is shown in several styles on the album, from his trademark yell to a soft touch, to low rumbling vocals. Great overall.
Overall Impression — 9
This is my favourite Soundgarden album because of it's diversity. Stand out songs are definitely "LetMeDrown", "Mailman", "Superunknown", "Head Down", "Spoonman", and "4th Of July", but honestly, there isn't a bad song on the album. Each song has a life of it's own, it's own little intricate parts that will make you really appreciate the genius behind this album. It ain't 100% perfect (some songs tend to drown in themselves, resulting from a lack of generic structure, but kudos for experimnetation). It takes a while to grow on the listener, but it is fantastic.