R.I.P. Soundgarden, 1984-1997

The members of Soundgarden, from left to right: Matt Cameron (drummer), Kim
Thayil (lead guitarist), Chris Cornell (lead singer), and Ben Shepherd (bassist)

If you've ever listened to a Soundgarden album, you probably understand why they are one of the most important bands of the 90s. If you haven't, you've missed something. Their success was propelled by Chris Cornell, who was not only owner of an incredible voice but also one of the most brilliantly talented songwriters rock music has known. Unlike too many songwriters who are content to judge songs on how well they will sell, Soundgarden made music that was not only good, but profound. In short, they earned their fame, and that is something not many rock musicians can say.

But that doesn't mean that their lyrics were their only strength. From a purely musical standpoint, Soundgarden produced outstanding work as well. Their hallmark style usually was to begin a song slowly and quietly, then to build it up until the music climaxed in a more energetic mode. Indeed, the band's name, although written as one word, is really two words, which describe the band amazingly accurately. A lot of their music was closer to sound, anti-musical and tuneless noise, yet it was also beautiful, elegant, and sweet; In effect, they created a garden of sound, that was paradoxically both ugly and disturbing, yet beautiful and soothing at once. This counterpoint is what made Soundgarden's music so effective. (Side note: This is not the official story in where they got their name, although it may be part of why they chose it. Officially, the band is named after "The Sound Garden", a sculpture in their hometown of Seattle.)

Their breakup does not mean the end of everything. I think it's pretty safe to say that we haven't seen the last of any of the band members. It is true that Soundgarden was more that the sum of its parts, and that solo careers from those band members will not be the same thing, but it's better than nothing.

Now that I've voiced my opinion, I could include some pictures, lyrics, and articles, but why bother? Anything I could manage would only be an insult to a site run by Seth Perlman. So, here it is, the Web's best Soundgarden site:

This site has been down for about a year now. When it first went down, it claimed it would be "back up soon". Shhhhyeah, right. However, I have discovered that the page has been left where it is... Only the title page has been changed. The problem is, it doesn't link anywhere, so you have to manually link to a section. To do this, just type the URL of any section on the page. You can use this link if you like:

(I arbitrarily chose the lyrics section, but you can choose any section. You'll then be able to link wherever from there using the navbar at the top.)

UPDATE!!! The site is actually back up! I thought it was down for good, but on April 4, 1999, it went back up, with apologies from Seth saying "I know you had to look at that target for a year". I'm not sure why he had to take the site down while he was working on it (he could've left what he already had while he was doing it), but never mind, it's back, so ignore what I said above about it being down. (I just left it there for historical value.) And enjoy the new site. :)

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