My feelings on Jack White are complicated.
On one hand, I think he’s a musical genius. Nearly all of The White Stripes albums rank among my favorites of all-time, and I also find his work with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather to be almost just as great. He’s one of the greatest guitar players alive, and his love for music and culture of a bygone era is only eclipsed by his amazing ability to amalgamate it into his own work in ways that are both unique and wonderful.
That being said, I also find Jack White to be a pretentious prick. A man’s whose skill is often overshadowed by his own pretension and desire to craft an unnecessary (and entirely annoying) persona for himself that paints him out to be some kind of country-bumpkin version of Prince – despite the fact that the motherfucker was born in Detroit in the 1970s, and not the deep south in the 1920s. As of late he seems too concerned with crafting this wacky persona than actually creating new music, and that’s beyond bothersome. Continue reading
Superunknown was first released in March of 1994, during the absolute pinnacle of grunge rock. Both In Utero by Nirvana and Pearl Jam’s Vs. had come out the year before to massive critical acclaim (and in the case of Pearl Jam, massive commercial appeal the likes of which rock has rarely seen before or since). And Alice In Chains were still in the productive era of their existence, releasing the EP Jar Of Flies, which would go on to be the best-selling of EP ever. Even grunge also-rans like The Toadies and Bush were finding mainstream success that year. 1992 might have been the year grunge broke, but 1994 was the year it broke big.
It was also the year that Soundgarden broke big, moving from their status as other (other) grunge band to bonafide superstars. Superunknown was a massive success for the group, selling over three million albums in the states alone; earning them widespread critical appeal and even three Grammys in the process. That being said, it’s probably one of the most underrated records of all time. I say that it’s underrated because, while the album was a pretty big deal when it came out back in 1994, who the hell still talks about it now?
Sadly, I feel that you could say that about a lot of great albums of the grunge era (Nevermind notwithstanding of course). But while talk of Pearl Jam’s Ten or Alice In Chain’s Dirt isn’t as strong as it used to be, both those albums (and bands) still have incredibly vocal fans who will exclaim the virtues of those records to this day. The same can’t be said about Superunknown, or Soundgarden as a whole for that matter. I guess they lack the devoted cult fanbase that can come from either non-stop touring or having your lead singer die young. No doubt that Soundgarden planned these deluxe editions of Superunknown to help remedy this problem, and while its great to see that the re-release has given the record some much needed attention, the extras on the more extravagant editions of the record probably won’t to much to enhance its legacy. Continue reading