When iconic bands move forward from their original sound…

Soundgarden, is streaming their new album, “King Animal”, in it’s entirety on Itunes today, and I gave it a listen. I’ll give my thoughts on the album later on in this post, but first, there’s a topic I need to get off my chest. Whenever an iconic metal or rock band puts out a new album, everyone expects them to go back to their original sound that made them for who they were. For example, everyone wants Metallica to go back to speed metal. Everyone wants Pearl Jam to make another amazing album like, “Ten” again. Everyone wants the Smashing Pumpkins to sound like, “Siamese Dream” again. Everyone wants U2 to go back to their “Joshua Tree/Unforgettable Fire” days. When those bands release new albums, everyone’s disappointed ’cause they don’t have their old school style anymore.

The thing that people don’t understand about bands, is that none of them like to look back at their songwriting. It’s about moving forward and creating new art. Playing from the heart and playing with feeling. I’m sure these guys want to go back to their old sound, but with songwriting, they can’t help it, ya know? They just play whatever comes out of them. Play whatever is in their heads.

Back to Soundgarden, I don’t think they’ll make a “Badmotorfinger” sounding album ever again. While that is an incredible album, the band quickly changed sounds and styles after that. Bands want to sound different every album they do. That’s the way songwriting works. Bands and songwriters can’t take ideas from other people. It’s not about making the music of how other people want it to be. It’s about making the music that pleases the band.

“King Animal” is getting mixed reviews. After a long awaited Soundgarden return, everyone was getting excited. Expecting the new Soundgarden record to sound old school, and of course, it wasn’t going to be. I think the new Soundgarden album, “King Animal” is pretty damn good. Definitely unique and different. There are some pretty odd time signatures and different song structures. Soundgarden are maturing as songwriters. The vocal harmonies and Chris’s singing is just mind blowing. There are plenty of great guitar riffs on it. It’s not the best Soundgarden record, but it is definitely better than, “Down On the Upside”.

People really need to get over a band’s past, already. Just appreciate ’em, and stop being negative pricks over music, all the time. People don’t understand that bands love to experiment with different sounds. That’s what Neil Young have always done. Neil keeps changing all the time, and you don’t see people complaining to Neil about going back to his old school sound. Neil got away with it.

Musicians just write what they want. End of story.


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