16) Superunknown - Soundgarden
I remember, for a long time, it was said that either you were a Nirvana guy or a Pearl Jam guy- which proves the cyclical nature of music in a general sense, as thirty years before, the same were said for the Beatles and The Rolling Stones. At the same time, it's a dubious comparison. Then again, maybe not- both the Stones and Pearl Jam are still somehow touring while making minimal contributions to the musical landscape, while the other two are remembered for the wrong musical works and functional as pieces... but I digress. I would never pick a side in that latter debate. It wasn't that I couldn't decide between Nirvana and Pearl Jam- in fact, you'll see albums from both of them coming up (and spoiler alert, they're both the sophomore major label albums)- but it was because I felt like my choice was missing. Soundgarden. To me, they were the true (mainstream) grunge.
"Badmotorfinger" was great. "Rusty Cage", "Outshined", all fantastic songs that showed the fantastic musicians behind the hair and screaming and punky sludge. Then came "Superunknown". The punk was all but gone, replaced by a heavy dose (get it?) of psychedelia. Things were a bit slower, but that speed had been changed out for more power.
It's hard to pick the best song on the album, really, because they all make a great argument for themselves. Sure, everyone knows "Black Hole Sun". And damned well they should. It's one of maybe four music video touchstones of the nineties, and well deservedly so. But at the same time as you have "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman", you have the amazingly awesome "Limo Wreck". And "Half" (Ben Shepherd is my spirit animal). And the two best goddamned songs on the album- hell, any Soundgarden album:
Seriously. I'm not even writing any more about this. If, after both of those songs, you don't understand why this is either A) one of my favorite albums, or B) why it's one of the greatest albums of the last twenty-five years, please delete me and forget we've ever met. It's just that simple, it's just that good, and you'd be just that wrong.
Addendum: they just released a "20th Anniversary Edition" of the album on vinyl (and it sounds fan-f'ing-tastic) and on CD. You can get it dirt cheap on MP3 on Amazon. You owe it to yourself.