Soup (Blind Melon album)

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Soup
BlindMelonSoup.jpg
Studio album by Blind Melon
Released August 15, 1995 (1995-08-15)
Recorded November 1994 - January 1995
Studio
  • Kingsway Studios, New Orleans
  • Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans
Genre
Length 48:14
Label Capitol
Producer Andy Wallace
Blind Melon chronology
Blind Melon
(1992)Blind Melon1992
Soup
(1995)
Nico
(1996)Nico1996
Singles from Soup
  1. "Galaxie"
    Released: 1995
  2. "Toes Across the Floor"
    Released: 1995

Soup is the second studio album by American rock band Blind Melon, released on August 15, 1995. The album was released eight weeks before vocalist Shannon Hoon's fatal drug overdose, making it his final album with the band, though it was not their last release with him, as his posthumously released work was included on the next album Nico. In addition to containing the hidden track "Hello, Goodbye," there is an additional hidden track in the pregap of the CD. To hear this track, listeners must stick the CD in their player, and as soon as track one begins, rewind the track to go into the negative pregap of a CD contained before index 01 in the CD's table of contents. In addition to being in the pregap, the vocals are also backmasked, while the instruments are normal. This track acts as an overture, containing elements of the songs "New Life" and "Lemonade."

Composition[edit]

Thematically, the album is much darker than the band's debut. "2 X 4" is about Hoon's experience at a drug detox, while the lyrics to the acoustic ballad "Walk" cryptically reference his addiction to speed and attempts to recovery. "Skinned" is about serial killer Ed Gein. "Car Seat (God's Presents)" is about Susan Smith, who killed her children by driving her car into a lake in Union, South Carolina. "St. Andrew's Fall" is about suicide. When asked about "Mouthful of Cavities," Rogers Stevens said, "It's probably about the convoluted nooks and crannies of Shannon's brain." It featured harmonies between Hoon and Jena Kraus. "New Life" is about the birth of Hoon's daughter Nico Blue. "Wilt" is about halitosis. "Galaxie" is about Hoon's experience with his car, a 1964 Ford Galaxie. "Lemonade" is a humorous song about a bar fight.

In a 2015 interview with the Songfacts website, Christopher Thorn explained how purchasing a variety of instruments led to the writing of certain songs on the album. "While writing songs for the Soup record, I was buying different instruments, and doing some songwriting experiments with them. I bought a banjo, so I wrote 'Skinned' just for fun. I never imagined Shannon would choose to write lyrics over that music. It was odd and really just so I could learn how to play banjo."[1]

In a 2013 interview with the Songfacts website, Brad Smith recalled, "But Shannon, I think, meant every word that he said on the Soup record, and that's why it's maybe even more critically acclaimed than our first record. Our first record sold many, many more units than our second record, but the second record had a lot more critical acclaim to it. People recognize it as the truth and pure. And I think that's the earmark of a great record."[2]

Album cover[edit]

The producer of the album, Andy Wallace, is seen on the cover, sipping soup.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars[4]
Rock Hard (de)7.5/10[5]

In issue #557 of Kerrang! (dated August 5, 1995), Paul Rees gave the album a "4 K review" (which means "Klassik"), saying, "Soup - bold, barmy, and borderline great."[6]

In the August 21, 1995 issue of People Magazine, Andrew Abrahams gave the album a somewhat positive review, saying, "If Blind Melon's eclectic approach sounds a bit maddening, it can be. But at least they've accomplished an important task: establishing a musical life beyond the Bee Girl."[7]

In issue #716 of Rolling Stone (dated September 7, 1995), Ted Drozdowski gave a scathing review of the album, ending his write-up with the statement, "With such slight fare to offer – and no kid in a bee suit – Soup puts Blind Melon in hot water."[8]

Also in 1995, Soup was ranked number 13 in Kerrang! magazine's "Albums Of The Year" list, above releases by the likes of Alice in Chains, Faith No More, Green Day, Ozzy Osbourne, and AC/DC.[9]

Legacy[edit]

In 2005, Soup was ranked number 357 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[10]

In the 2009 book, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon, drummer Glen Graham is quoted as saying, "I talked to a guy from Spain yesterday [from Popular 1 Magazine], and he was saying, "Soup is the top album of the ‘90s according to our readers.' It was like, 'What?'"[11]

The album took the #5 spot on a "Top 10 Most Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 90s" on the V+C website[12] and was placed #43 on the "50 Best Alternative Albums of the ’90s" list on the MetroWeekly site.[13]

In 2014, Soup topped Alternative Nation's "Top 10 Underrated 90’s Alternative Rock Albums" list.[14]

On January 17, 2017, Soup was reissued on limited edition vinyl via Analog Sparks (cut from the original stereo tapes and pressed on 180-gram vinyl).[15]

In an interview with the Long Island Pulse website in 2018, Thorn discussed why he feels the album has developed a cult following over the years. "It’s crazy. Twenty years later, I feel finally validated. We felt like it was such a great record when it originally came out. For it to be slammed so hard, a record we were so proud of, was confusing to us. It was like, 'What? I thought we did a good job.' I get that it was dark and it was different than the first record, but in the end, it really grew on people. And more importantly, it has a great shelf life because people are not over it. I’m really flattered that people still care about that record."[16]

Plan to perform album in its entirety[edit]

In the aforementioned interview with Songfacts in 2015, Thorn spoke about plans for the band to perform the Soup album in its entirety, for the first time ever. "To celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the Soup record, Blind Melon is making plans to go play shows and perform the Soup record from top to bottom. We have never done that before, but we are excited to challenge ourselves. Some of the songs from the Soup record have never been performed live before." Unfortunately, these performances of the entire album never took place.[17]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
0.Untitled2:05
1."Hello, Goodbye (unlisted)/Galaxie"3:31
2."2x4"4:00
3."Vernie"3:14
4."Skinned"1:57
5."Toes Across The Floor"3:04
6."Walk"2:47
7."Dumptruck"3:40
8."Car Seat (God's Presents)"2:42
9."Wilt"2:29
10."The Duke"3:36
11."St. Andrew's Fall"4:11
12."New Life"3:34
13."Mouthful Of Cavities"3:33
14."Lemonade"3:36
Total length:48:14

Personnel[edit]

Adapted credits from the liner notes of Soup.[18]

Blind Melon
  • Shannon Hoon - vocals, guitar, harmonica, kazoo
  • Brad Smith - bass guitar, double bass, flute
  • Christopher Thorn - guitar, mandolin
  • Rogers Stevens - guitar, piano, hammond organ
  • Glenn Graham - drums, percussion
Additional musicians
  • Jena Kraus - backing vocals on "Mouthful of Cavities"
  • Miles Tackett - cello on "Car Seat" and "St. Andrew's Fall"
Production
  • Steve Sisco - mixing assistant
  • Andy Wallace - producer, engineer

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1995 Billboard 200 28
2009 (reissue) Billboard 200 200

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
1995 Galaxie Mainstream Rock Tracks 25
Modern Rock Tracks 8

References[edit]