Thursday, July 11, 2013

Top 20 Soundgarden Songs

Since Soundgarden got back together last year and released an awesome new album, I've been listening to a lot of their great songs. I've done a few 'best of' lists in the past but somehow neglected Soundgarden, which is after all one of my favorite bands. For the purposes of this list I will also include some Chris Cornell solo work and also Temple of the Dog, which heavily featured Chris. If by doing this list I can introduce some previously unknown songs to you then I will be very happy.

1. Searching With My Good Eye Closed -- This was the first Soundgarden song I heard, as they opened with it at the live concert I attended that was my introduction to their music. The song is so heavy that it isn't just in old fashioned drop D tuning like many heavy songs--the guitar is tuned down two whole steps to B. The riff is so heavy and the vocals fit perfectly over it. I'm not enamored of the long intro, so I edit the song to fade in just before the vocals kick off.

2. Boot Camp -- Soundgarden's last album before they broke up was the vastly underrated Down On the Upside, which is my favorite of their albums. This song is pretty much overlooked by people for some reason, but I listen to it all the time.

 3. Bones of Birds -- I bet you never heard this one either. It's from the new album, and naturally it hasn't been released as a single, since Soundgarden never puts their best songs out as singles. This one took a little time to grow on me, but it's lovely.

 4. Beyond the Wheel -- This is one of the oldest Soundgarden songs, and while the studio version is very good, the live version from the Letterman concert is incredible.

5. Fourth of July -- Another overlooked song. It's dirgelike tone really appeals to me.

6. Pretty Noose -- A cool rocker from their best album. Love the wah wah pedal here.

7. Blood on the Valley Floor -- Excellent song from the new album, so of course it isn't a single.

8. Call Me a Dog -- My favorite song from the Temple of the Dog album.

9. Zero Chance -- Just gorgeous, and again from their best album, Down on the Upside.

10. Worse Dreams -- Here's another reason why the new album is so splendid.

11. By Crooked Steps -- See 10

12. Taree -- See 10 and 11. This song has the best buildup of any on the album but falls a tad short on the chorus, at least for me. It could easily have been the best song on the already great record.

13. An Unkind -- Short, rocking tune from the awesome Down on the Upside album.

14. Nothing to Say -- One of the best of the old Soundgarden songs.

15. Nowhere But You -- A Chris Cornell solo tune that is quirky and sounds like it belongs in a Tarantino movie.

16. Blow Up the Outside World -- What more can be said about the Down on the Upside's the best!

17. Burden in My Hand -- See 16

18. Room a Thousand Years Wide -- Simple but great, from the Badmotorfinger album.

19. Jesus Christ Pose -- Iconic tune from Badmotorfinger, and while I love it, I somehow rarely feel like playing it, which is why it drops to here on the list.

20. Switch Opens -- A somewhat surreal but beautiful song from Down on the Upside.

Okay, so there are so many great Soundgarden songs that didn't make my top 20, but that's because Soundgarden tends to release their second-rate songs as singles while leaving their best stuff to languish in obscurity. Here are their other songs that have four stars on my iTunes list:

Like Suicide, The Keeper, Seasons, Outshined, Hands All Over, Flower, Overfloater, Mind Riot, Earache My Eye, Karaoke, Spoonman, Black Hole Sun, Hunger Strike, Your Savior, All Night Thing, The Day I Tried to Live, Loud Love, Live to Rise, Flutter Girl, Preaching the End of the World, Follow My Way, When I'm Down, Steel Rain, A Thousand Days Before, Non-State Actor, Been Away Too Long, Attrition, Black Saturday.

Wow, so many great songs! Not many bands outside of The Beatles, Zeppelin, Floyd, U2, Pearl Jam, etc., have managed so many.


  1. Some good choices. I really liked the Temple of the Dog album. That was twenty years ago - scary, huh?

  2. Alex, yeah time is blitzing by! I last saw Soundgarden live more than twenty years ago, and they don't seem like they will come to Eastern Europe during this summer's tour.