Reprinted with permission from Niki Freer

by Niki Freer

"Hard headed..... (blank) you all!" are the final words Soundgarden want to leave ringing in our ears. Amused? I sure am.

"Ty Cobb" is a raw and powerful song written by bassist Ben Shepherd. It's in standard tuning, a rariety for this band, and just rocks the way few songs do. The first twenty seconds is Shepherd playing a sweet, soft melody on a mandolin, then the guitars come crashing in with a distortion laden crunch. It races along for three minutes at a furious pace, with a mandolin and mandola duel between Shepherd and singer/guitarist Chris Cornell arsing during the chorus. The main line of "hard headed (blank) you all" is repeated an incredible amount of times, just for emphasis. By the end of "Ty Cobb," you've either spent 3 minutes jumping around your room like crazy, or laughing at the underlying humor of the song.

Another tune that'll have you laughing out loud is the second b-side, "Big Dumb Sex." Also known for it's notoriously funny chorus, this song was originally released in 1989 on their major label debut Louder Than Love. This is a groove-only song written as a joke by Cornell. Take the lyrics as you will, but the music is hysterically cliched, making it impossible to keep from singing along and playing air guitar. The bass and guitars repeat a simple bouncy riff, giving it the silly sing-along sound.

he first b-side is another song from Down on the Upside, called "Rhinosaur." A piece written by drummer Matt Cameron, it was originally slated as a single but never released. The guitar winds and twists all over the place, with lead guitarist Kim Thayil having quite a few sporadic solos. Then you come to the Bill Rieflin remix of "Rhinosaur," entitled "The Straw That Broke The Rhino's Back." It's definately interesting, with Cornell sounding like a screeching worker bee and Thayil's guitar sounding like a circular saw gone haywire, but it is merely a space holder used only as another reason to chuckle to yourself.

The extra tracks on the final single from Soundgarden are not anything brilliant or even very inventive, which was probably to be expected. The single itself was released after the band had called it quits. It seems disjointed and each song separate from the next, which is an oddity for Soundgarden singles. It's a good laugh to see that they really did release "Ty Cobb" after all, but it also serves as a reflective look upon their career. They've always went for the change of pace, the one thing no one else had really thought of yet. And they usually found it and made it work. "Ty Cobb" even managed to get an explicit lyrics warning pasted on it. The mixture of songs doesn't work as well as on past singles, but at least it will make you smile.

four stars and a smile
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