Why Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger Is Better Than Nirvana’s Nevermind

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Badmotorfinger is Soundgarden’s third studio album, and although Ultramega OK and Louder than Love both had great tunes – BMF is essentially the one that showed what they were all about. Angry, immense, and full of energy, this hard-packed record was released 27 years ago today, the same day as Nirvana’s Nevermind. Since Nevermind is what truly made Nirvana blow up, it overshadowed a lot of the other big records that came out of Seattle around the same time, like Pearl Jam’s Ten. Put it this way – Badmotorfinger was certified 2 times Platinum and Nevermind was certified Diamond, and they came out the exact same day.

Badmotorfinger is my personal favorite Soundgarden record, and is overall one of my favorite records of all time. The passing of Chris Cornell really destroyed me as a fan of theirs, but I have always argued that Soundgarden was actually better than Nirvana. Therefore – here is a ranking of the songs on Badmotorfinger, and you can decide for yourself which of the two albums is better. For the record, I don’t think there is a single weakness on this album, but be sure to let us know what your favorites are!

 

New Damage

I guess it’s ironic that the last song on the album is last on this list. It’s not that there’s anything I don’t like about it, just prefer it the least out of the rest. It has a really slow, dark sound to it and hones in on a pretty dark topic as well…yeah I guess that’s most Soundgarden songs.

 

Face Pollution

Have you ever heard a song start with such an intense “WOO”!? “Face Pollution” is a short but very energetic and powerful piece. Not sure what face pollution exactly is but Soundgarden makes it sound cool. And Matt Cameron is one fucking hell of a drummer.

 

Mind Riot

Personally, I think this entire album can be defined as a “mind riot.” This is one of the slower songs for sure, but no less impactful. The chorus is especially eerie as Chris is wailing about a candle burning and someone’s best friend dying. We, Soundgarden fans, lost our best friend when he left. And unfortunately, it’s hard not to fixate on that when you hear him singing about it.

 

Holy Water

When this song begins, you think to yourself, hey this is like the only song on the record where Chris sings in a low voice. Yeah, for the first line of the verse. Then he hits us with his high range again that makes us feel oh-so-great about ourselves. This song features some strong guitar melodies and basically takes a metaphoric shit on religion. Talk about the perfect combo.

 

Somewhere

Does the beginning few lines of this song remind anyone else of “I Dreamed a Dream”? No? I mean the rest of it definitely doesn’t. Anyway, this is kind of just one of those tracks I simply like for the way it sounds. That scream at the end is how I scream in traffic.

 

Rusty Cage

And this is what I meant when I said Badmotorfinger is really the record that showed the world what Soundgarden is all about. “Rusty Cage” is such a powerful opener for an album and it really sets the mood for the rest of it. If you had never heard Soundgarden up until this song, you liked them immediately. Johnny Cash covered the song – that’s pretty telling in itself.

 

Drawing Flies

This song is A LOT. It has a bo-diddley, bluesy rhythm to it, and there are even horns in the background. This is a lyrical highlight on the album as Chris spews metaphors out one after the other without taking a breath. “Wallowing in my own obscenities, share a cigarette with negativity.”

 

Jesus Christ Pose

If there is a Soundgarden song to demonstrate everyone’s musical capabilities…it’s this one. It’s a fast-paced kick in the teeth with a ballistic drum/bassline, thrashy guitars, and Chris screaming throughout basically the entire thing. It’s like the audial version of a psycho ward. They performed it at a majority of their sets in their finals years, proving to the world that age wouldn’t inhibit their talents.

 

Outshined

I will never forget the first time I heard “Outshined.” I don’t think a better quote can explain angsty, depressed teenagers than “I’m looking California and feeling Minnesota.” The guitar riffs are so heavy, Chris’s voice is so raw. It’s just a complete banger of a song.

 

Room a Thousand Years Wide

I often think this song is really overlooked, and I never understood why as it’s one of my favorites on the record. To each his own of course, but the guitar riff and overall beat is so catchy. Plus, you hear a pretty demonic snarl at the end of the second chorus. Little things that stand out like that are always my favorite parts about songs.

 

Searching with My Good Eye Closed

                Again, I have no idea what “searching for a ground with my good eye closed” means, but this song is incredible. It’s Soundgarden’s version of grunge-meets-psychedelic. The intro with the animal noises is one of the most unique things I’ve ever heard in a rock song before and it’s humorous too. Then the song builds and you just get this trippy melody with echoing vocals – it’s mesmerizing.

 

Slaves & Bulldozers

Yep, here we go. This is arguably one of Soundgarden’s best songs, if not the best. The way it starts so slow and mysterious and then builds just in the intro alone is enough to get you hooked. The guitars are screechy, and I can just envision Chris stomping around on stage growling the words. It’s not his best lyrical performance as the verses are pretty simple, but is definitely high up there on the vocal chart. Screaming to wailing, clean to distorted, he has it all under control no matter which style he uses. It all sounds great. And it makes you want to break things and scream at the top of your lungs even though you know you won’t be able to hit the notes. I think Badmotofinger overall just showed how talented Soundgarden really as. Nirvana fans? BLEEEEEED YOUR HEAAAART OUT!

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Lauryn is a contributing writer for Alternative Nation, primarily doing show/album reviews, editorials, video reporting, and interviews with bands like The Pretty Reckless, Seether, and Greta Van Fleet. First and foremost a huge Guns N’ Roses fan, she’s big on classic rock and grunge, with taste spanning from The Doors to Alice in Chains. You can either see Lauryn at a rock festival, or driving across the country to get to one. Lauryn loves getting feedback and tips. You can reach her at laurynschaffner @yahoo.com , as long as it's related to rock.
  • PhoenixForce5

    How is this a debate? Soundgarden was better musically, lyrically. SG’s compositions were much more complex.

    • astrocreep7

      Compositions being more complex doesn’t make them better songs… They are both great albums. Just depends on the mood.

      • PhoenixForce5

        Not really. Nirvana’s material doesn’t hold up well with time. To be honest Nirvana was more hype but the music couldn’t live up to it.

  • Trovoid

    Music is all subjective but Nevermind doesn’t grip me the same way BMF does. Nevermind sounded great to me on the first listen but I don’t tend to listen to it much these days. BMF took repeated listens to really sink in and I still go back to it all the time. Soundgarden records challenge the listener more than a lot of their peer bands. Once they click however you realize how timeless they truly are.

    • PhoenixForce5

      Nirvana is great if you’re a 13 yr old angst-ridden teen, not so much as a 30 yr old adult. i always thought nirvana was lacking – musicianship wise.

  • Kay B

    My 6 year old daughter loves BMF……that means it automatically wins hands down.

    • Trovoid

      Your daughter is cool as fuck.

      • Kay B

        Ha! Thank you. I actually can’t keep up with her requests to hear CC every day. She sings “Call Me A Dog” in the back seat of my car on the way to school. I enjoy listening to her channel him.

        • Trovoid

          That’s a really young age to get into such an eclectic band. I hope she continues to sing as she gets older. If she’s already singing to ToTD then she could be quite the powerhouse singer one day.

          • Kay B

            She wants a drum set, which I will probably eventually get her. She really appreciates music at a very mature level. She surprises me sometimes how in-tune she is with everything.

          • Trovoid

            Awesome! I offered recently to help Corndog find and figure out how to maintain a drum kit for his son. Let me know if there’s anything you need help on. I know you’ll do all you can to support her and her interest in music.

          • Kay B

            I will! Thank you!

      • Olga Stewart

        So is her Mom. :).

      • Olga Stewart

        How are you doing?

        And how are things going?

        • Trovoid

          Hi Olga! I just saw my notifications and my first thought was, “I wonder if Olga is back.” I am doing alright. How has everything been going?

          • Olga Stewart

            AAAwww and thank you. ;).

            I’m struggling a little bit (fall is always a difficult time of the year for me).

            But otherwise, I’m doing fine.

            And I’m glad to hear that you are doing fine.

          • Trovoid

            I get very depressed during the fall. I wish I could enjoy it as much as other people seem to be able to. I’m not sure if it’s difficult for you because of that or any personal memories/deaths, etc.. But I hope you’re able to get through it. And it’s great to see you back here!

          • Olga Stewart

            I am sorry to know that this time of the year is also difficult for you.

            Thank you for your kind words (And the same back to you). :).

            Lastly, I am happy to be back.

          • Olga Stewart

            Two of my husband’s cats passed away some years back (one in September and the other in October).

            My dad passed away (six years ago) in September.

            The birthday of the two aforementioned cats is in November.

            And then there is Christmas (which is a little difficult for me in regards to not being able to celebrate it with my own family).

            So from September to December, I always struggle a little bit.

          • Trovoid

            I’m sorry to hear all of that, Olga. My thoughts are with you.

            I can only hope that you create new memories that help overshadow those painful moments from the past. The seasonal changes always seem to make me realize how much of my life feels like I’m stuck in a loop.

          • Olga Stewart

            Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words, as they are most appreciated. :).

            Each year at this time, I do try to focus on the good things in my life. And that does help a lot.

            But sometimes those other things have a way of creeping in and catching me off guard.

            Though, I am doing a lot better with handling things when that happens.

            And yes, I do understand about how the seasonal changes affect you.

            Time moves on but you and I (and others) feel like we are both in the same place and falling behind.

            That can make for both some challenging and uncomfortable times.

            Again, I am very sorry to hear that you are dealing with this.

            Hugs.

          • Trovoid

            That’s understandable. Those other things are always going to be in the back of your mind, especially if you’re like me and are easily reminded of old times. Even nostalgia can be so deceiving that sometimes I long for the worst of times. Then I’ll remember how horrible they were and realize that I’m just trying to hold onto something that was never there. Most of the time I just ruminate on all of my negative and traumatizing experiences or worry about the future. And it makes it hard to be present.

            “Time moves on but you and I (and others) feel like we are both in the same place and falling behind.That can make for both some challenging and uncomfortable times.”

            Perfectly put. The world seems like it’s moving so fast these days thanks to technology and our modern lifestyles and I’m just stuck behind trying to make sense of it all, wondering why I even exist in the first place. *Hugs back* Stay strong, Olga.

          • Olga Stewart

            When I come across a person who used to be a friend, I start to think about maybe reaching out to them again. But then I stop to remember what caused the friendship to end. So I decide to just leave them be.

            Your words about ruminating on old times made me think of that.

            You exist because you are meant to be a part of this world. And also because if you didn’t, then I would haven’t met you and then became your friend.

            Hugs. :).

          • Trovoid

            I know a few people like that. I’ve also decided to not bother reaching out to them. Nostalgia (and sometimes the idea of closure) sure can mess with your head.

            Thanks, Olga 🙂 It’s great to have you as a friend.

    • Tyrone Blackman

      My 4 y/o has been stuck on Awolnation for a while now. Hes about got me burnt out on it. Wish he would pick up on soundgarden. I play it enough…

      • Kay B

        Ha! Yea I do hear a peep every now and then of Miley Cyrus and it makes me want to push my fingers into my eyes but what can you do? At least it isn’t often and it is short lived.

  • Nacho Jones

    Lauryn, child.

    Comparing or saying one is better than the other is redundant and obtuse. Two different bands with 2 so many different influences and ideals working for different sounds.Moreover, why would you even compare them? Chris Cornell was a Nirvana fan. Kim was friends with Nirvana. Ben was super close with all the Nirvana guys. There’s plenty of room for everyone to exist in greatness together without comparison or competition.
    P.S. Since you weren’t alive when it happened – FYI – Louder than Love was a massive record.

    • Mikey 🐮💩🐙🐧🐒🐸🐰

      Condescension much? You’re trying too hard to sound wise and enlightened.

      One reason for comparing here would be that a huge amount of nimrods think music from that time was only NIRVANANIRVANANIRVANA and nothing else.. which is bullshit.

      • Raj

        No it is a poor comparison compared BadMotorfinger to Bleach or Bleach to Loud Love/UltraMega Ok or Superunknown vs. Nevermind.

  • Seattlesound21

    Nevermind got alot of people myself included into that genre of music though now alice in chains is my favourite out all them bands. I still love nirvana but just not the same as when I was 15

  • Stone Gossardish

    What a record. Slaves seemed clearly to be Chris’ all time SG favorite, if not the bands too. It’s just an amazing record.

  • ntelicatessen

    Badmotorfinger better from Nevermind 😂? Even Endless, Nameless (yeah, the hidden song of Nevermind), is better from Jesus Christ Pose. But, that just like, my opinion, man.

    • Raj

      It’s a bad comparison it should be Superunknown vs. Nevermind.

  • DC

    The most overrated band, album, song (TSpirit) from the era are not even close to SG.
    A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido LOL bunch of nonsense.

    BMF is one of the best albums from the 90’s.

    • Raj

      TSpirit was overplayed to death but the lyrics don’t matter a lot of Nirvana’s strongest songs weren’t even released as singles, Sappy, Drain You, etc blow a lot of other songs out of the water. BMF is solid.

  • Raj

    I disagree if you say that then you could say that Nirvana’s In Utero is better than SG Superunknown. I think it comparing Nirvana’s Nevermind to SG’s Superunknown is much better comparison forget they were released the same day. SG took it up another level from BMF to SU just like Nirvana took it up another level from Bleach to Nevermind.

  • Rizz

    Badmotorfinger always makes it into my rotation once every few months. Nevermind maybe once a year. Appreciate them both. Highlights of my youth.

  • Hwang Sunghyeop

    Nevermind = think about my vision of life.
    Badmotorfinger = think about the music Grunge.
    Nevermind is different record for me. it is special album.

  • Hwang Sunghyeop

    I just saw the power of Nevermind with my eyes. It was culture movement. They absolutely changed the whole music scene. Overrated? yes oversaying. But it was actually bigger than anything. without Nirvana nothing would be happen. I’m old and put some FF records and Slipknot records more than early stuff. but still I remember how great they were.

  • Michael Cunningham

    I listened to both BMF and Nevermind quite a lot when they first came out
    I still listen to BMF pretty regularly .. it just holds up much better over time

  • Olga Stewart

    “Slaves and Bulldozers” is the song I play when I’m feeling angry.

    Just hearing Chris’s voice both hit those high notes and scream seems to calm me down.

    God but I still so miss him.