Sunday, March 15, 2015

Song Of The Week: 3/15/15

Song: "By Crooked Steps"

Artist: Soundgarden

Album: "King Animal"

Year: 2012

"By Crooked Steps" is a song that appears to be about vengeance in some way. Perhaps it might possibly be about a guy who believes that he is what will make a particular girl whole. Problem is, she may not see it the same way. In fact, she may not even know who this guy is and she is already happily with someone. It definitely sounds like it's coming from someone with a twisted mind. He believes they will be together, no matter what happens to her current mate and he does not seem to mind if he himself is the one to get him out of the picture. One way or another, he will complete her, at least that's what he thinks in his own psychotic mind! Soundgarden formed as a band back in 1984, with Kim Thayil on guitar, Hiro Yamamoto on bass and Chris Cornell on drums and vocals, hailing from Seattle, Washington. In 1985, Scott Sundquist was brought in to play drums to allow Cornell to focus on vocal duties. Soundgarden appeared on the now famous Deep Six compilation, featuring them as well as other underground Seattle bands. In 1986, former drummer of Skin Yard, Matt Cameron joined the band. 1987 saw Soundgarden hook up with Sub Pop Records and release the single/b-side "Hunted Down/Nothing To Say". They also released the "Screaming Life" EP as well as the "Fopp" EP. In 1988, Soundgarden signed up with SST Records and released their full length debut album, "Ultramega OK", featuring the lead single "Flower". In 1989, Soundgarden was signed by major label A&M Records and they released "Louder Than Love", featuring tracks like "Hands All Over", "Big Dumb Sex" and "Loud Love". It was at this time that Yamamoto left the band. Jason Everman, formerly of Nirvana, joined the band for their support tour of "Louder Than Love" but was let go right after the tour finished. In 1991, Ben Shepherd joined the band on bass. Shepherd was like a breath of fresh air for the band because of his songwriting and creativity. It showed as the band released "Badmotorfinger". With singles and concert staples like "Jesus Christ Pose", "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage", "Badmotorfinger" was among the top 100 selling albums of 1992. That same year, Soundgarden joined what would become a now legendary Lollapalooza Tour along with Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam and Ministry. With the Seattle scene exploding by now and "grunge" being the craze, Soundgarden would release their holy grail of music, 1994's "Superunknown". Featuring the singles "Spoonman", "The Day I Tried To Live", "Black Hole Sun", "My Wave" and "Fell On Black Days", "Superunknown" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, won two Grammy Awards and has been certified 5X platinum in the United States alone! Trying to live up to that proved to be a daunting task for Soundgarden. "Down On The Upside" was released in 1996, featuring the singles "Pretty Noose", "Burden In My Hand" and "Blow Up The Outside World". Though it was received well critically, it did not live up to "Superunknown". I personally believe it to be a great album, but the band was becoming burnt out and increasing internal tensions were pulling the band apart. In 1997, Soundgarden announced that they were disbanding. As a thank you to fans, they released the greatest hits compilation "A-Sides" which featured an unreleased track from the "Down On The Upside" sessions called "Bleed Together". From 1998 to 2009, the band members all did their own thing. Cornell released solo albums and also fronted the supergroup Audioslave with members of Rage Against The Machine. Cameron worked on his side band Wellwater Conspiracy then joined Pearl Jam as their full time drummer. Shepherd worked with Mark Lanegan while Thayil stayed mostly behind the scenes, working on various artist's material. In 2010, Cornell announced to the world that Soundgarden was back! They played their 1st live show on 4/16/10 at the Showbox in Seattle, the first time they played live in 13 years! "Telephantasm: A Retrospective" was released, basically another greatest hits compilation and featured the unreleased song "Black Rain". In 2012, Soundgarden contributed the song "Live To Rise" to the "Avengers" movie soundtrack. This was the first new song the band recorded since their reunion. 2012 also saw the band release a brand new original album called "King Animal". This album featured the singles "Been Away Too Long", "By Crooked Steps" and "Halfway There". In 2014, the band released "Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path". This is a three disc set that includes rarities, b-sides, cover songs and live tracks all in one package. Currently, Thayil has mentioned in several interviews that Soundgarden should have a new album out sometime in 2015. What can be said about Soundgarden? This band is bad ass! As one of the bands that was in the forefront of the grunge/Seattle sound of the early 90's, time and longevity has made them so much more than that. In my mind, Soundgarden is one of the best hard rock bands of all time. They were the darker Seattle band, the heavier Seattle band, the most technical Seattle band. If you could take a pot and mix in some Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and underground hardcore, you'd probably come out with something resembling Soundgarden. Their use of odd timings makes their music totally unique and Cornell is arguably one of the top 5 male rock vocalists of all time! Totally bad ass band!!


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