2020 Album Draft- Round 3 Pick 10- with the final pick in the third round- MSJADELI selects- Soundgarden- Down On The Upside.
MSJADELI’s blog Tao Talk- can be found at
Anybody who is trapped on a desert island needs at least one album like, “Down on the Upside” by Soundgarden. It’s hard-hitting on the music, which gets the blood pumping. The lyrics could be best described as dark and struggling with managing emotions, from depression, sorrow, rage, and hoping things will get better. It’s not going to be a picnic all of the time you know. I also knew I would pick at least one album of Chris Cornell music. His voice needs to be there for me, being real.
Down on the Upside (DotU) was recorded between November 1995 and February 1996 and released on May 21, 1996. The band members produced the album themselves, which was a departure from their previous album, “Superunknown,” produced by Michael Beinhorn in 1994. On the choice of not working with a producer, frontman Chris Cornell said that “a fifth guy is too many cooks and convolutes everything. It has to go down too many mental roads, which dilutes it.” Where Superunknown is hard and tight, DotU is hard with forgiving soft edges.
DotU was their fifth studio album and the last one until sixteen years later, when they reunited and created their final album, King Animal, in 2012. DotU is the only self-produced album in their discography.
Every musician on the album is a master at their craft. There are really interesting time signatures (hoping I have the right terminology) on some of the songs.
The album’s songs placed emphasis on vocals and melody over the heavy guitar riffs that were found on the band’s earlier LPs.
Cornell summed up the changes with “What we’ve lost in sonic precision we’ve gained so much in terms of feeling.”
Down on the Upside is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Soundgarden, released on May 21, 1996, through A&M Records. It is the band’s third album with bassist Ben Shepherd. The album topped the New Zealand and Australian charts and debuted at number two on the United States’ Billboard 200, selling 200,000 copies in its opening week. Down on the Upside would end up becoming Soundgarden’s final studio album for sixteen years as tensions within the band led to its break-up in April 1997.
Pretty Noose – I got the perfect steal/A cleaner love/With a dirty feel all right; Rhinosaur – Only happy when you hurt/Only deadly in a swarm/Only healthy in the dirt/Only empty in your arms; Zero Chance – And all the sky went silent/Cracked like glass and slowly/Tumbled to the ground; Dusty – And nothing’s gonna put me out/It’s backing down and under; Ty Cobb – Sucking on a ball and chain/Another motherfucker goes down the drain; Blow up the Outside World – Nothing seems to kill me no matter how hard I try/Nothing is closing my eyes; Burden in My Hand – Close your eyes and bow your head/I need a little sympathy/’Cause fear is strong and love’s for everyone/Who isn’t me; Never Named – But I was just a kid/The kind mother likes/Now I’m big like the sky/And I’m down sized inside; Apple Bite – Loosely or tightly/Everything fits; Never the Machine Forever – Now I see myself clearer/Why time I visualize/I spy device in the mirror/Checkmate watch machine die’; Tighter and Tighter – Love is so surprising/Opened up my eyes and you/Reached out and took my hand; No Attention – I’ve got war on my mind blood on my hands/And love on my head; Switch Opens – Hey you slave, go hang your owners/Draw your names among their ashes; Overfloater – Close the door and pull the shades/And climb the walls/Feel medicine heal the lines of age; An Unkind – We see the vipers of distance/Crawl into our lives everyday; Boot Camp – I must stay on the ground/In clusters of the mice
16 songs, almost 66 minutes
Personnel: Chris Cornell– lead vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin, keyboards Kim Thayil – lead guitar Ben Shepherd – bass, backing vocals, mandola, guitar Matt Cameron – drums, backing vocals, synthesizer (now Pearl Jam’s drummer) Adam Kasper – piano (guest musician on one song) Some information for the album was gathered from wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_on_the_Upside
I like every song on the album, but my favorite is probably, “Blow Up the Outside World,” not only because of the lyrics and the exquisite musical arrangement that start soft then screams, but because of the music video that was created for it.