Badmotorfinger (Super Deluxe Edition)

Badmotorfinger (Super Deluxe Edition)

In Badmotorfinger, Soundgarden created their first classic album. While their 1988 debut, Ultramega OK, and 1989 follow-up Louder Than Love earmarked them as leaders in a new generation of artists emerging from the Pacific Northwest of the United States, their third LP saw them mine a creative seam that lay somewhere between metal, punk, hard rock, and jazz, without belonging solely to any of those genres—a sound that was familiar yet at the same time uniquely their own. There had been two major changes in the Soundgarden camp since the release of Louder Than Love–the first was the arrival of bassist Ben Shepherd, who replaced co-founder Hiro Yamamoto, bringing to the band an edgy punk-rock spirit, a fiery creative streak, and, perhaps most importantly, a new songwriting voice. The second major development was that for the first time in their career, the songs they were writing had not been tested and honed in front of crowds, but were instead crafted and recorded in the rehearsal room and studio. While vocalist/guitarist Chris Cornell was the primary songwriter, each member played a more pronounced creative role than before—drummer Matt Cameron penned “Drawing Flies” and “Room A Thousand Years Wide,” while guitarist Kim Thayil wrote the lyrics for the latter. The only song featuring a credit for all four members was the chaotic “Jesus Christ Pose,” a seething commentary on media and religion, its title inspired by a photo Cornell saw of Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell lying on a bed with his arms outstretched. Songwriting inspiration came from myriad places. Cornell wrote “Mind Riot” after a conversation with Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, who remarked that writing a song with every guitar string tuned to E would be a silly pursuit—a challenge Cornell gleefully accepted. For rumbling opener “Rusty Cage,” the singer/guitarist wanted to pen a hillbilly/Black Sabbath crossover. (Outlaw country legend Johnny Cash would later put his spin on the song for his 1996 album Unchained, his foreboding baritone somehow making it even heavier.) “Room A Thousand Years Wide” and “Drawing Flies,” meanwhile, featured the caterwauling saxophone of Scott Granlund, introducing a new, at-times abrasive, sonic element to Soundgarden’s arsenal. Reuniting with Louder Than Love producer Terry Date and recording in Studio D in Sausalito, the album takes its name from a mash-up of the band Badfinger (one of Thayil’s favorites) and the Montrose song “Bad Motor Scooter,” which Thayil heard while jamming with a friend. Given that one potential album title was I’m Okay – Urinal Cake?, when Thayil suggested the new monicker it was instantly accepted. When Badmotorfinger was launched into the world it came on the cusp of a seismic change in music. Released within weeks of Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten, Soundgarden was a leading light in a scene that was set to banish the then-ubiquitous hair metal in favor of a more daring and artistic sound, one rooted in reality rather than the larger-than-life, party-every-day showmanship of Poison and Warrant. Badmotorfinger was the perfect album for the time.

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 3

Disc 4

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