Texacaliago Tuesday - Album of the Week - Soundgarden - Superunknown



Continuing with Chris Cornell tribute week, Superunknown was Soundgarden's finest hour, and really one of the best grunge albums of all-time.  I would go so far to say it is just as great as anything Pearl Jam ever put out, and I probably like it a hair better than In Utero for example.  And as great of a band as Alice In Chains were, they never put out an album as cohesive and fluid as this.  But perhaps those are apples to oranges comparisons, but whatever the case, Superunknown is a fantastic album, and it also happens to be a great summer album as well.  A great road-trip album if you're looking for something that packs a bit more of a punch than Led Zeppelin or Tom Petty for example.  This album reminds me of the more oppressive aspects of summertime.   I can remember as a kid watching the video for "Black Hole Sun" during the middle of summer in Texas, and it just went perfectly with the searing heat and somewhat despondent vibe of sweltering through the seemingly never ending West Texas summers.  "4th of July" is one of the doomiest and darkest "summer" songs you'll ever find, while songs like "My Wave" and the title track seem to have this proverbial exhilarating warm summer breeze flowing through them.  Lots of variety to be found here, an absolute classic album that captures Soundgarden at their artistic peak.

"If this isn't what you see
It doesn't make you blind
Yea, if this doesn't make you feel
It doesn't mean you've died

Where the river's high

If you don't want to be seen
Well you don't have to hide
And if you don't want to believe
Well you don't have to try to feel alive, yea

Alive in the superunknown
First it steals your mind and then it steals your

If this doesn't make you free
It doesn't mean you're tied
If this doesn't take you down
It doesn't mean you're high

If this doesn't make you smile
Yea, you don't have to cry
If this isn't making sense
Yea, it doesn't make it lies, oh

Alive in the superunknown
First it steals your mind and then it steals your soul, oh

Get yourself afraid
Get yourself alone
Get yourself contained
Get yourself control, control

First it steals your mind and then it steals your soul!"

Texacaliago Tuesday - Album of the Week - Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A.




On the surface, this is an album drenched in pure Americana, but if you dig a bit deeper, the familiar Springsteen themes of hardship and strife awash in a landscape of pure unadulterated greed and power ring true throughout Born in the U.S.A.  That said, there is an undeniably upbeat, bright, and resilient spirit to most of these songs, which was a significant departure from his prior stripped-down album Nebraska.  The result propelled Springsteen into the proverbial stratosphere of mainstream music culture, for better or worse.

Although I've always found patriotism and nationalism to be a somewhat bizarre concept, and fervent displays of it to be more than a little creepy, we all generally want to feel good about where we live and to feel our country is a reflection of our values, and a force for good in the world.  Suffice to say my personal level of enthusiasm for this country is at an all-time low, considering our current...situation.  But if you're like me and believe thoughtful and concerted dissent in these times is truly patriotic, then in that respect, perhaps now is the most patriotic I've ever been.

But enough with my pre-coffee (aka half thought-out) political grumblings.  It's the 4th of July, so Born in the U.S.A. seems like an all too fitting choice for album of the week.


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