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Louder Than Love

4.5 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 5, 1989
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Editorial Reviews

1989 breakthrough album from Seattle's Soundgarden.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 5, 1989)
  • Parental Advisory ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: A&M
  • ASIN: B000002GIH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,718 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Read on May 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This has always been my favorite Soundgarden record. I am a fan of their later work (especially Superunknown and Badmotorfinger), but this record contains a rawness and vitality that their more polished later stuff lacks. Louder Than Love straddles the two major periods in Soundgarden's career: their earlier, less-metal sounding work (e.g. Ultramega OK and Screaming Life/Fop) and their later more-metal sounding work, epitomized by the aforementioned Superunknown and Badmotorfinger. Louder Than Love contains the elements of both of these periods.
This music is raw and angry, and the lyrics are more biting. It's closer to a punk rock record. Very much in the spirit of many other SST bands (SST is the label that Soundgarden was on prior to this Louder Than Love, which is their first record for a major label). You won't find any "Black Hole Sun" type songs on here.
There are so many good songs on this record. "Ugly Truth" has to be my favorite. "Big Dumb Sex" is also a favorite. It's an awesome indictment of all of those terrible 80's sexual inuendo glam-metal songs (such as Warrant's "Cherry Pie").
If you have not been exposed to Soundgarden's earlier work, then this is the place to start. Ultramega OK and Screaming Life/Fop are even more raw and punk than this, which makes Louder Than Love a great transition for the unitiated. The first thing that many late-Soundgarden fans have to get used to is that Cornell's voice is less developed and polished here. Any Soundgarden fan, however, should own this record. As I said, in my book it's their best.
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Format: Audio CD
This album changed my life. I hated most all heavy music that came out after _Master of Puppets_ . . . until this. And then it was grunge grunge grunge. I thought the grunge thing was a clever way for marketers to call Soundgarden something other than metal, as this stuff is about as metal as you could ever get. Lots of hair, bludgeoning riffs, high high screamy voice, guitar shredding: everything except the hairspray, spandex, and songs about scoring chicks (notable exception: "Big Dumb Sex," the perfect parody of the hair scene--"Know what to do,/ I'm gonna f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k you). Not to say it doesn't do things that metal had never done, 'coz it does, assuring it its rightful place in the metal pantheon.

First off, Chris Cornell's lyrics are not your typical hormonal metal chants. Some of these are diatribes. "Hands All Over" rains down hard on globalization, using abstraction to get his point across in an intellectual way: "Hands all over the coastal waters./ The crewmen thank her,/ then lay down their oily blanket." Light years beyond AC/DC. The immediate parallel is of course Zeppelin. And of course Soundgarden owes them a huge debt (what rock band after them doesn't?). What I find differentiates Soundgarden from Zep more than anything is Thayil's guitar. Listen close and at times his guitar sounds positively Farsi or raga, not always in the controlled way you hear white bands play when they are trying to be "world," but in a way that sounds like him taking his Iranian upbringing and putting it through a filter of rage. I also love his use of harmonics. Few guitarists are as good at making the instrument sound as scary as an exorcism.
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Format: Audio CD
I picked up this album and Ultramega OK on the same day at a used CD shop in my hometown years ago. While Ultramega hit me first, this album is just as good, and a little more consistent. The original, scrapped title fits this album a bit better in my personal opinion because indeed this album is HEAVY.

Actually, it's the band's most unapologetically heavy disc, with Badmotorfinger a close second (I think that the production on Badmotorfinger helps it sound as heavy as it does). The production on this album is a bit murky, but it completely adds to it's charm as far as I'm concerned. When you hear the double guitars come crashing in at the beginning of "Ugly Truth" you know the 80's are pretty much over forever.

Soundgarden is one of my all-time favourite bands, and their pre-1990's era is their best in my own estimation. As good as the last 3 albums are, their first 3 (if you count Screaming Life/Fopp as one) are the iconoclast of big, loud rock with HUGE balls. Early Cornell and Mike Patton constantly jockey for position in my mind as the top rock vocalist of all time and there's no clear winner. In fact Soundgarden toured with Faith No More on this album... and I can't even begin to imagine how awesome that would have been.

These guys had actually been signed to a major for a couple of years before this album hit, but chose to release earlier material on indie labels, probably to build a local/indie following. Regardless this album came out at a time when the industry needed a fresh start and Soundgarden delivers. A little too metal for the punks and a little too punk for the metal-heads, it wasn't a huge seller but classic riffs abound on this pile of sludge. In fact, "Loud Love" is based on one of the best rock riffs ever!
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