For some reason really expensive super deluxe edition of albums are trending. If done well it can be a worth while collectible for those who can afford it, but Soundgarden proves every band can’t pull it off no matter how good the album may be. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their groundbreaking LP, it has been remastered and released on several different formats, including a five disc edition. Anyone looking for hidden gems or a mass of b-sides should turn elsewhere because the super deluxe edition is a waste of money.
This edition features five discs, including the remastered original album. Aside from that disc, the others are completely worthless. Filled with demos, rehearsals, and “outtakes” you’re pretty much listening to the same album five times. The second disc is supposed to be full of b-sides and other rarities from recording sessions, but is mainly filled with live performances of songs like “Fell on Black Days” and “Kickstand” along with some awful remixes of “Spoonman” that no one asked for. The b-sides we do get, “Ghostmotorfinger” and “Jerry Garcia’s Finger” are complete throwaways; they sound they’re being played backwards. It’s easy to see why they were left off the album. While the live renditions of the tracks sound good it’s not what you expect from a disc boasting “rare material.” We get it, Soundgarden sounds great live, but they already have a release to prove this.
The third disc are the demos for the LP, which means you get to hear the entire album again. There really isn’t much difference between the demos and the final cuts aside from poorer sound quality and maybe some acoustic versions. While it is interesting to hear it’s not good enough to listen to over and over again. If anything it just tells you Soundgarden had a lot of the songs hammered out before they laid down the final tracks. And just when you couldn’t get enough of the album disc four are the rehearsals. Yes, that means the same songs yet again. The only difference between this disc and the others is that some of the songs are a little sloppier, you can hear some commentary from Chris Cornell, and he’s not singing with his full range. Again, for a fan it’s interesting to hear maybe once, but definitely not enough for fans to shell out more money on this version.
Disc five is especially confusing. It’s the entire album again, but presented in Blu-ray audio. I guess this one is for extreme audiophiles, but for everyone else there’s nothing different about this disc. Sure, the expensive edition includes a nice photographic book, but it’s definitely not worth the money. If you want to hear the LP five times, just play the standard disc five times. You expect more b-sides, covers, and other rare outtakes from an album like this. It’s really disappointing that the release is extremely lacking. The band would’ve been better off only doing a two disc edition with a remastered disc and a DVD disc featuring live footage, interviews, and music videos from the album’s release.
Overall, the release gets 6.5/10. It’s great that this awesome album was finally remastered and is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but please do not spend your money for the more expensive version. With subpar b-sides, live outtakes, and demos that all end up sounding the same, it’s a very disappointing release. For your sake, just get the single disc, maybe the two disc if you really want to hear those “Spoonman” remixes. Otherwise, it’s not worth your time or money. Hopefully, Soundgarden learns from this and plan their future reissues much better.