Bathtub Beats #2: Down On The Upside, Soundgarden

Well, this wouldn’t have been my first choice album to listen to in the tub …

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Down On The Upside

Not exactly a relaxing, chilled-out kind of vibe. Pretty heavy and morose. I’m unsure how Down On The Upside even made it onto my computer, because I’ve never listened to it before! But that’s the beauty of Bathtub Beats – close my eyes, swipe to scroll down on the list of albums on my phone for a few seconds then randomly stop, then open my eyes to “discover” an album to listen to in its entirety in the bath. The first Bathtub Beats review is here.

So … Soundgarden … They’ve had some massive hits and were part of the Seattle grunge explosion in the late 80s/early 90s. But I have to say they’ve never been on my list of faves. (So how is this album, released in 1996, in my collection? A mystery still to be solved.)

When I think of Soundgarden, I think Chris Cornell. Distinctive voice. Black Hole Sun (YouTube video of the filmclip) is probably his most recognizable song, from an earlier album, Superunknown. He was also the lead singer of Audioslave. More heavy stuff.

The only tune I can honestly say rang any bells from Down On The Upside, is Track 7, “Burden in My Hand”, and by the time I’d made it to Track 12, “No Attention”, I was paying just that. Exfoliating with the face washer then playing wet t-shirt competitions with said white face washer became waaaaay more entertaining.

But after all the heavy rock (and the laughable lyrics of “Never Named” (e.g. “I had a dog … He was a mix … He loved me like a god … When I was just a kid.” Yawn.), I started paying attention for the last four songs. If my wishes (while doing convoluted aqua aerobic leg exercises to keep me sane) for a shorter album had come true, I’d have missed tracks 13-16 and, for me, they’re what made the album bearable. They were somewhat “lighter” (less aggressive in the delivery) and the switch in pace for “Switch Open” was a blessed relief. Then it was a smooth transition into “Overfloater” before ramping it up again for “An Unkind” and I slipped further into a warm-water stupor for “Bootcamp” and then, wow. The album just finished. Like that.

This ended up being Soundgarden’s last studio album for 16 years because they split, but reformed in 2010. Here’s the track listing for those who know the album and may not have listened to it for a while.

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. Pretty Noose Chris Cornell 4:12
2. Rhinosaur Matt Cameron 3:14
3. “Zero Chance” Ben Shepherd 4:18
4. “Dusty” Shepherd 4:34
5. Ty Cobb Shepherd 3:05
6. Blow Up the Outside World Cornell 5:46
7. Burden in My Hand Cornell 4:50
8. “Never Named” Shepherd 2:28
9. “Applebite” Cameron 5:10
10. “Never the Machine Forever” Kim Thayil Thayil 3:36
11. “Tighter & Tighter” Cornell 6:06
12. “No Attention” Cornell 4:27
13. “Switch Opens” Shepherd 3:53
14. “Overfloater” Cornell 5:09
15. “An Unkind” Shepherd Shepherd 2:08
16. “Boot Camp” Cornell 2:59
Total length:
65:56

 

So, I can safely say there’s no rush for more than an hour of Soundgarden in one sitting again, but I’ll be happy to hear those final four songs when the player’s on shuffle.

What will future Bathtub Beats bring? Hopefully something I love, because there are plenty out there. Just need the blind scroll to stop on a good one next time. Puhlease.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

7 thoughts on “Bathtub Beats #2: Down On The Upside, Soundgarden

  1. MMM – well the one song (the video link you provided) was enough for me . Interesting video clip although I can say I hold with rotisserie barbie. They can stay off my play list.

    I ‘did an Angela’ over Easter and worked like a navvy in the garden – weeding and clipping; high pressure cleaning and then did some painting of a wall and outdoor area. Back to work for a rest.

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    • Go Jude! Sounds like a super weekend of “getting stuff done”. Love that feeling! And yes, Soundgarden has a certain taste that I don’t find so appealing either. Small doses, small doses …

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  2. Haha, I was confident I’d actually heard of Soundgarden when I read this (goodness knows why!) but of course, I probably only know Black Hole Sun because it’s one of those that the radio people play! However, the other clips I listened to confirmed my impression of this being “howl”-rock, if rock at all, hm, must be getting old ;o Really ought to get the new record-player working and do some blind-choicing out of the old albums…

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    • Hi swissrose! I think Soundgarden were pretty massive in the 90s, and even this album went platinum and made it into the top 10 in most rock-loving countries (probably on the coattails of the previous album). Howl rock is a great description. Grunge rock? I would love to hear what your record player has in store! Or maybe you should go for the ones you love first, and then do the blind ones, because it can be quite demoralising when you see what the music gods have offered up!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Ideally, all the music on our players should be what we love … maybe that’s a challenge for me this year – to get rid of the songs and albums I don’t even like so each listening experience is a winner! Or “sparks joy” as Marie Kondo would say!

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      • You’re quite right, we cling to our collections on the laptops and my husband still won’t let me get rid of the CDs so I usually only listen to the lists I synchronise to my smaller gadgets anyway, which comprise all my favourites…
        However, I am looking forward to hearing all the old LPS again from the days in the 80s when we prided ourselves on the size of our combined collection and a few rarities ๐Ÿ˜‰ We used to spend all our time and money in record shops ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
        Hubby recently got a 30 yr old record cover autographed by a band we saw in the mid-80s in concert and loved; they disbanded shortly afterwards (having played Montreux, no less, with Level 42!) but one of them ended up working on a business project with hubby in Stuttgart last year, where they made friends… and the band decided to re-form for fun just before Christmas for a concert we were invited to – how cool is that?! So chuffed!!

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      • You have mentioned Leo’s favourite band, Level 42! He’s seen them so many times! I’ve seen them once and have to admit I’m not such a huge fan of “slapping the bass”. Your experience with the re-formed band is amazing! What a joy it must have been to see them again after so many years (and be friends with them no less!). A great story. Your record collection sounds majorly impressive. I hope the record player makes a welcome return soon!

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