Sound — 10
Superunknown was considered to be Soundgarden's best album, and for good reasons. This album gets you hooked from the opening riff in Let Me Drown all the way to Chris finishes singing "Just like suicide." Even Half isn't that bad if you don't listen to Ben's singing. This is also their first album to experiment with Indian influenced songs, however most of the songs are pure grunge. Tracks 1-5 start off with very catchy guitar riffs from Kim and only get better once the whole band kicks in. Track 6, Head Down, features an Indian influenced riff which proves they don't have to limit themselves to strictly grunge. 7-13 return to grunge with one of the greatest songs of the ninties, Black Hole Sun (though personally I think Fell on Black Days and Like Suicide are better.) Track 14, Half, is written and sung by Ben; you can tell it's not one of Chris' songs. Closing the album is Like Suicide. This is one of my favorite all-time songs. It starts off slow and gradually picks up, climaxes at a spectacular solo from Kim and ends with Chris singing the chorus. The first thing that came to mind when I heard it was a whole stadium of people w/ lighters in the air. When people talk about a band's magnum opus, this certainly holds true with Superunknown.
Lyrics — 10
I'll start with Ben since he only has one song on the album. His singing isn't that good up the octave; you can't make out much of what he's singing. But when you read the lyrics, the song starts to make a hell of a lot more sense, but there's a reason why Chris is the leas singer/songwriter. Chris has always written good lyrics, not the greatest, but still pretty good. This album, however, features some beautiful lyric writing that really draws you into the songs. Fell on Black Days is written about the down turn of life; how when your life seems great and then it just flat out sucks, and everyone can relate to this song. Like Suicide also has some good writing. Ordinarily, it wouldn't be that special, but considering how it's about a bird that flew into his window and he hit it with a cinder block to put it out of it's misery, that's saying something. The best writing, however, is on Track 10, The Day I Tried to Live. From the title and after listening to it for the first time, you assume it's about suicide. However, it's about a non social man who tries to be social, makes a fool of himself but decides to try it again tomorrow. The fact that he fools you so well, on top of masterful lyric writing, is what sets this song apart from the rest.
Overall Impression — 10
This is definetely they're best album. They combine the perfect blend of music and singing to make one of the greatest albums of all time. Chrish and Kim have awesome melodies while Ben and Matt hold the band together (props for Matt for keeping perfect time in some screwed up time signatures). Most bands do this on their singles off the album, but to do it on every song is saying a lot. You could make the argument that every track could have been a hit single. What sets it apart from the other grunge albums and from other Soundgarden albums is that you can clearly hear the effort they put into it. They carefully wrote these songs to make them the best they can be. All of them have had only great things to say about the album, which is good considering some band members don't like some of their most popular albums, saying there could have been one extra thing added to make it perfect. If someone stole it, I'd hunt the bastard down, strap him to a gurney and castrate him with fishing knives (thank you George Carlin for that line). I'd also buy a new one without even thinking about it should I not be able to find it. The only bad thing to say about it is Ben should stick to backup vocals and down the octave singing. Otherwise, Chris, Kim, Ben and Matt compliment each other beautifully on the best album of the '90s and one of the greatest albums of all time.