Soundgarden, whilst not only being the most underated band of all time, was the cause of early 90’s Seattle fame. Sure they weren’t very sucessful when they came out in the 1980’s but they had a distintive sound that influenced Alice In Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Soundgarden are easily my favourite band now and this CD was my first introduction to their sound (I picked it up when I heard that “that guy from Soundgarden” was going to be the new lead singer for my beloved Rage Against The Machine) and honestly, the day I picked up this CD I constanly reflect on as one of the highlights of my life.Every track on this CD oozes a raw quality that in my mind is still original to this group. Tracing right back to the early EP days and the debut album Ultramega OK. The tracks Nothing To Say and Flower are haughtly constructed songs with all emotions. The Loud Love period is displayed with 3 songs which show the bands coming into it’s genre and the strenghing of it’s style. Which brings us right up to The Badmotorfinger- Superunknown style. Clearly Soundgarden at it’s peak as a whole. Each of the 7 tracks on A-sides from this era feature an exceptional quality with my personal favourite being Outshined, one of my all-time favourite songs. It was during this period that Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron recorded the now legendary Temple Of The Dog Album with Pearl Jam members. Down On The Upside, Soundgardens last album and possibly it’s most mainstream is credited with 4 tracks on the album and The Bonus track, Bleed Together show The band in form during this period.All in all this album is a brilliant buy. This band truly have an unique sound and each member holds their own beautifully. Matt Cameron’s flawless timing on Drums, Ben Shepard’s electric Bass Work, Kim Thayil’s brilliant solos which couple together with Cornells guitar work to produce a molten wall of intense riffs. All of these play second-fiddle in my opinion to Chris Cornell’s Amazing Voice. The Man is a god with a range I could only dream to possess and the brutality of his delivery truly shine in every one of the songs on this album.Buy it now. I can’t tell you honestly that you will not be dissapointed.
Soundgarden combined the epic grandstanding of Led Zeppelin with the grunge buzz of Blue Cheer and the psychedelic undertones of the Butthole Surfers to create some of the definitive hard rock of the 1990s. This collection of what can loosely be defined as ”hits” (hard rock isn’t noted for its singles action) briefly sweeps over the indie years with SubPop and SST, placing emphasis on the band’s successful A&M years. Singer Chris Cornell’s histrionic wails grabbed the bulk of the attention, but the band’s true power rested with the drumming of Matt Cameron and the twin guitar attack of Cornell and Kim Thayil. One need only listen to ”Fell on Black Days” or ”Blow Up the Outside World” to understand that Soundgarden’s complex riffs and superb dynamics were its great strengths. –Rob O’Connor
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A best-of album from Soundgarden is like a best-of album from Led Zeppelin: it’s ridiculous. In many ways Soundgarden is the Led Zeppelin of the grunge era. Both bands are about power and mystique, each offering up a relentlessly heavy edge that overshadowed their contemporaries like Manute Bol standing next to Spud Web. Also, both bands went extinct way too soon. In Soundgarden’s case, they issued only five albums and two eps. While their earlier work (1985-1989) was an inchoate combination of sweaty hard rock and shifty punk music, sometime during the process of the “Louder Than Love” album (1989) the band just locked into a sound that can never be duplicated. Everything that followed this period (-1997) was simply brilliant. So, who can argue with a greatest hits collection? My main gripe is that their record label has been incredibly stingy about their treatment of this band’s catalog – not to mention the Temple of The Dog album, which should be remastered and offered with live tracks/outtakes. This is not just great music, it’s music that defines an era, defines the feeling you get when you look back on this part of your life. And why is the awesome “Birth Ritual” from the Singles soundtrack or “Heretic” from Pump Up The Volume missing? Whatever media giant owns Soundgarden’s catalog needs to remaster everything and release something from the live vaults. It’s been 12 damn years since this release! Gimme a break.
This greatest hits collection shows the listener the ENTIRE side of Soundgarden. They should not really be classified as a METAL band – If you listen to this disk ENTIRELY, you will know why. It takes you through ALL the most popular songs from the SCREEMING FOR LIFE ep through DOWN ON THE UPSIDE. (Along with an unrealeased track BLEED TOGETHER) Examples of why Soundgarden is one of the more crafty bands in the hard rock era can be heard throughout: The Sabbath-type riffs, with a touch of punk in NOTHING TO SAY….The rawness and brutality of FLOWER….The polished, change in tempo of RUSTY CAGE….The hard-rockin, politically charged HANDS ALL OVER….The smoothness and psychadelica of BLACK HOLE SUN and BLOW UP THE OUTSIDE WORLD…The hardcore punk sound of TY COBB….The list goes on and on…Soundgarden is one of the only bands to experiment with all these styles and make them work. A sad thing they are no more. BUT – Do yourself a favor, and get everyone of Soundgardens CDs…There is ALOT more great music from Cornell & Co on their other releases..You dont KNOW what your missing. The only reason I purchased this was for the unreleased BLEED TOGETHER – and it was worth EVERY dime.
Soundgarden. What can you say? Their music is absolutely timeless. They’ve made some of the best rock songs ever, and “A-Sides” captures a good amount of them. From anthems like “Black Hole Sun” and “Blow Up The Outside World”, to the more soft rock songs like “The Day I Tried To Live” and “Burden In My Hand”, to the proto-metal of “Jesus Christ Pose” and “Rusty Cage”, to some of my personal favorites “Outshined” (I love the sludge riff) and “Pretty Noose” (the bass notes in this song are amazing), Soundgarden covered it all. Of course a few songs were missing (both “My Wave” and the title track on “Superunknown” come to mind), but it was obvious that was gonna happen, Soundgarden has a very big selection of material. With that said, you also shouldn’t rob yourself by ignoring their other albums, as Soundgarden had just as many good songs that aren’t singles. But the material here is more than worth your time and investment. And the extra track “Bleed Together” is a great song with a punk edge, but still being catchy. “A-Sides” isn’t the best of the best, but some of the best from a legendary band. It’s highly recommended to rock fans who have yet to get into the band. Soundgarden didn’t just carry the grunge flag the longest, they were one of the last rock bands that actually mattered. After Soundgarden broke up, rock music just wasn’t the same.
Before bands like Creed, Nickelback, Puddle of Mudd, Staind, etc. were mudding up the airwaves, there was a band from Seattle (no, I’m not talking about Nirvana) who kept their integrity from their indie days even when they won Grammys and had monster hits. This band was Soundgarden, and “A-Sides”, a collection of mostly Soundgarden hits, is a nice collection that fans new to the band can use as a nice introduction. Though it is mostly compiled with the singles from later albums, we get songs from the Sub Pop days like “Flower” and “Loud Love”. It would have been nice to see some more songs from the Sub Pop releases, but this is ok as we get well known songs (and fan favorites) “Jesus Christ Pose”, “Rusty Cage”, “Day I Tried to Live”, and “Ty Cobb”, and we get the monster hits “Outshined”, “Black Hole Sun”, and “Spoonman”. We also get an unreleased track (from the “Down on the Upside” sessions) called “Bleed Together” which is a nice little track but ends too quickly. Being a big fan of Soundgarden no greatest hits package would be perfect, especially without songs like “My Wave”, “Like Suicide”, “Never the Machine Forever”, and “Searching With My Good Eye Closed”, all of which would have rounded this package out very nicely, but this is still a nice little collection (at least A&M Records isn’t churning out pointless duplicate compilations every other year like Columbia does with Alice in Chains’ catalog). All in all, this is a nice little collection that serves well as an introduction to one of the defining bands of the 90’s.