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Top 10 Soundgarden Songs

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by David MacIntyre. Formed in 1984 in Seattle, Washington, Soundgarden went on to become one of the most successful bands of the grunge and alternative rock movement of the 1990s. They are still making music today. For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Soundgarden songs. Special thanks to our users InsanityIsAwesome97, Opst3r, akt, jokerman42 and Jack Morris for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by David MacIntyre.

These songs aren’t superunknown, but they’re definitely awesome. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Soundgarden songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs.

#10: “Hands All Over”
Louder Than Love (1989)

This track came from an early point in Soundgarden’s career and a couple years before grunge became a mainstream sensation. With lyrics focusing on the abuse of the environment, the track is raw and edgy with vocals from a younger, clean-shaven and less gruff-sounding Chris Cornell. Although it’s the sound of a band that hasn’t quite found their groove yet, it still rocks hard.

#9: “The Day I Tried to Live”
Superunknown (1994)

This song may remembered for its time signatures, but it’s also a bit more psychedelic than we’re used to hearing from Soundgarden. With lyrics about attempting to be less antisocial and more friendly and outgoing, “The Day I Tried to Live” places Cornell’s high register on full display by the time the chorus comes. As Superunknown’s second single, it also charted within the top 40 of both Billboard’s Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks charts.

#8: “Spoonman”
Superunknown (1994)

Released as their fourth album’s first single, this track helped propel Soundgarden’s music to the masses. It was their first song to make it to the American rock charts, and it also charted well overseas. Initially written for the 1992 Cameron Crowe film “Singles,” “Spoonman” is another example of the band’s penchant for unconventional guitar tunings and time signatures.

#7: “Blow Up the Outside World”
Down on the Upside (1996)

The last Soundgarden track to make it to the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart before they split up in 1997, this song is an example of the quiet verse, loud chorus dynamic that was popular in the grunge era. It starts off mellow with plenty of acoustic guitars that have been compared to the style of the Beatles, before going right into overdrive.

#6: “Room a Thousand Years Wide”
Badmotorfinger (1991)

One of the more metal-esque numbers Soundgarden has ever released, this track was initially issued as a single on seminal grunge label Sub Pop. It’s also the only song on this list to feature a section with saxophone and a trumpet. Interestingly, Cornell didn’t write the lyrics or the music of this tune, as the band's guitarist and drummer handled each of those duties respectively.

#5: “Outshined”
Badmotorfinger (1991)

Yet another one of Soundgarden’s singles to be written both in drop D tuning and in 7/4 time, this tune is one of the band’s fan favorites. This track may not be one of their more commercially successful singles, but it’s one of the band’s biggest live staples, and they’ve played it at just about every gig ever since their reunion.

#4: “Jesus Christ Pose”
Badmotorfinger (1991)

With all four members of Soundgarden contributing to this Badmotorfinger single, this track is fast and charging, complete with Cornell screaming a few times. It slams celebrities who compare themselves to Jesus Christ, and in particular, is a swipe at Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell. Makes you wonder what Soundgarden would’ve thought or written about Creed years later.

#3: “Black Hole Sun”
Superunknown (1994)

Easily Soundgarden’s most commercially popular tune, this song is still a rock radio staple, and it’s not hard to see why. Its gloomy guitars and slow tempo matches its grim lyrical content, but these are then contradicted by what Cornell called a “really pretty” melody. The track made the top 30 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay Chart, and also won Soundgarden a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.

#2: “Fell on Black Days”
Superunknown (1994)

Written in 6/4 time, this single is a good example of Soundgarden’s signature sound. Lyrically, it’s quite dark, as it discusses Cornell’s years as a depressed teenager who rarely ever left his house and played music to pass his time. But that didn’t stop it from charting well both in the States and overseas, and it even reappeared years later in an episode of “Supernatural.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Pretty Noose”
Down on the Upside (1996)
- “Superunknown”
Superunknown (1994)
- “Slaves & Bulldozers”
Badmotorfinger (1991)
- “Searching with My Good Eye Closed”
Badmotorfinger (1991)
- “Live to Rise”
Avengers Assemble: Music From and Inspired By the Motion Picture (2012)

#1: “Rusty Cage”
Badmotorfinger (1991)

With a combination of speedy punk rhythms, wah wah guitars and a heavy grunge feel, this track comes at you fast before going into full-on breakdown mode toward the end. It became an alt rock radio hit and spawned a popular MTV music video. Then, five years after its release, “Rusty Cage” was covered by Johnny Cash. If your song is good enough to be covered by the Man in Black, you’re probably doing something right.

Do you agree with our list? Which Soundgarden tune is your all-time favorite? With new and entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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