Soundgarden-"Been Away Too Long" Single
November 13th is the expected release date for the new Soundgarden album, "King Animal", with "Been Away Too Long" being the first single. Now, this will be the group's first recording since 1996's "Down on the Upside" so the song's title seems to fit rather squarely doesn't it? Having previously offered up the single, "Live to Rise", back in April (from the soundtrack to "The Avengers"-see my review below for more info), I was not too optimistic going into "Been Away Too Long". My one fear was/is that the band's upcoming sixth album will be more "Down on the Upside" and less "Badmotorfinger" (or the any of the band's first three releases for that matter). My other fear (or concern?) is can Soundgarden even be relevant anymore?
As my good friend Ben says " I just don't know if I have it in me for a new Soundgarden record. I might just leave them in the 1990s". He's right. The last time we saw the band release a whole album's worth of material was back in 1996! That is a long time ago. A lot has transpired over the years (for one thing I'm raising two kids,14 and 12, alone) and I'd wager to say that the band's old fans have grown up and moved on. While I still know a few people who are excited about the prospect of a new Soundgarden album it's few and far between at best. Will "King Animal" be a huge sigh of relief that Soundgarden is back to save rock or will it be a reminder of everything that was wrong with 90's rock to begin with? That is a good question, but for now "Been Away Too Long" is the song of the hour and the verdict is? Well, it's more "alternative rock" then "grunge", but it's at least somewhat heavy and it's creative. The arrangement is interesting even if it is nothing groundbreaking and the song carries itself along nicely in a sort of post-grunge/alternative radio rock way. Whether "King Animal" will follow the same formula remains to be seen. For now "Been Away To Long" leaves me with several thoughts. First is the thought that it is much better then "Live To Rise" followed by the thought that Soundgarden needs to really knock this one out of the park if they hope to be relevant. That brings me to my final thought. As my friend Ben seemingly pointed out are they anything more then just a moment in time? The mid 90s was a difficult time for me so do I really need or want to be reminded of that time period from a band that has "nineties" now stamped all over it? I don't know...