Soundgarden — Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:55:31
We countdown the best alternative albums of the past 10 years and explore the meaning of the genre...
The word "Alternative" has been passed down through multiple generations of music now, and it's continuously changed. In the most classic sense, we think of it as the Generation X grunge forbearers like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and everybody else from the iconic Seattle scene. At the same time, Pixies were alternative, and they came from Boston—same thing with Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both hailing from Los Angeles. Of course, we can't forget Melvins from Washington even though they sounded different from the general scene associated with their home state. Nowadays, what is alternative? Radio and the industry will tell you it's the folk pop we typically hear on "Alternative" stations. However, where are the guitars?
Truth be told, they haven't gone anywhere. Moreover, there have been some truly monumental "Alternative" albums this past decade—even this year. Most of these will even be widely regarded as classics someday. We wanted to highlight and countdown the Top 15 Alternative Albums of this Decade. They've got the hallmarks of the genre's timeless work, which we all still crank today. Some of these will be from quite recognizable names and others will be from people who still aren't afraid to keep a guitar handy when they're breaking the mold. The point is that Alternative music in the classic sense is stilling being made, and we wanted to spotlight that—even with some gems out this year! As a note, we are counting albums releases since June 2005 to keep in line with the exact decade.
8. Soundgarden – King Animal
Soundgarden put some bite back into alternative rock with 2012's King Animal [Loma Vista]. It was the legendary Seattle outfit's first offering since 1996's Down on the Upside, and it didn't just pick up where they left off, it illuminated that they were still kings of the jungle, forest, and all of the wilderness in between. King Animal saw Chris Cornell [vocals/guitar], Kim Thayil [guitar], Ben Shepherd [bass], and Matt Cameron [drums] channel the visceral vibrancy of Badmotorfinger, the elegant doom pop of Superunknown, and the primal ferocity of Louder Than Love into a new kind of beast.
"Blood on the Valley Floor" saw them achieve a divine heaviness, while "Been Away Too Long" blasted off on a sputtering bluesy grime that instantly intrigued. It was the centerpiece "Bones of Birds" that really illuminated the heart of King Animal, combining a psychedelic strain with one of Cornell's most ponderous refrains ever, examining the fragility of life. "Black Saturday" is a new acoustic classic for the group, while "Rowing" sees them at their most wonderfully weird and wild.
By the end of roaming free with this entity, there's only one thing to say, "Hail to the King."
Watch The Video for "Been Away Too Long"
See the other artists and albums on our Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade feature!
See our 5 Reasons to get excited for Chris Cornell's 'Higher Truth'!
'King Animal' from Soundgarden is available on Loma Vista Recordings.