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Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988)

November 21, 2019

[Albums 694/ 1001]

When I reviewed Mudhoney’s other 1001-listed album, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, I made the relatively obvious observation that Mud + Honey was an appropriate equation for ‘grunge’ music.

Mud: Make the guitars super fuzzy & dirty, ensure the vocals are sufficiently raspy.

Honey: Hide some sweet melodies beneath the din.220px-Mudhoney_sfbm

The definitions, however, are the easy part; finding the optimal Mud to Honey ratio is the challenge.

If it’s too muddy, maybe it sounds more authentic, but it’s decidedly less marketable.

However, if it’s too sweet, and thus too accessible, that wouldn’t have been any different from the mainstream to which ‘grunge’ was ostensibly the alternative.

What’s a group to do!

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mudhoney

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“They can make it sound so nice, Everybody’s got a price…Nobody’s here to stay,
They own you to the grave”
– Mudhoney, Let It Slide

It’s hard to read such lyrics as anything other than a firm statement of intent: this is a band with no interest of ‘selling out.’

And at least with their 2 albums included on the 1001 list, it appears they were true to their word.

Based on their debut, Superfuzz Bigmuff, and the previously reviewed Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, when it came to the Mud + Honey formula, the band tilts more in the muddy direction.

I’d estimate the overall Mud / Honey ratio on their 1001-listed albums is somewhere in the ballpark of 75/25.

The kind of ratio that would be too abrasive to appeal to the masses but just tuneful enough to be embraced by a devoted niche audience.

Which, unsurprisingly, may help to explain their relative lack of commercial success.

Which, equally unsurprisingly, may also help to explain their considerable influence on the ‘grunge’ scene.

…..

Verbalize the Positive

Bonus marks if you recognized EGBDF as the lines of the Treble Clef – I like that Mudhoney named one of their albums after the mnemonic device!

From → 1980s

17 Comments
  1. Actually, when you break it down Geoff your right Mudhoney is a great name for a band. I was never into these guys but younger brother Todd was.

  2. I missed them as 88 was GNR, Lep, Snake and the whole Hair scene. Now though, I like that ratio, 75/25 is a pretty good balance.

  3. Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit (the mnemonic I learnt in a violin lesson when I was six to memorise the treble clef lines)!

    • I think I learned ‘Fun’ as a youth – I like Fruit though, promotes healthy eating!

      • There’s also FACE to remember the spaces in the treble clef stave (I’ve never learnt a bass clef instrument so I had to memorise those without the help of a handy poem! And then there’s Father Christmas Got Dad An Electric Blanket to remember the order of sharps, and Blanket Exploded And Dad Got Cold Feet for the order of flats — it’s a bit dark!

      • The darkness continued with the Canadian version – Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle / Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles’ Father!
        I like that Electric blanket version!

      • That’s very dark indeed!! It is entertaining, though!
        I believe the electric blanket one is English! There is another version that is specific to my state in Australia about a local children’s television character called Fat Cat Getting Drunk At East Brighton (a local beach), but I think that was deemed a little inappropriate for when I was 6 or 7…

  4. Genuinely surprised that Mudhoney have two on the 1001! Both very good, too… though I have never been the biggest fan.

    • The book seems to favour the trailblazers/importance over longevity/overall excellence – which may explain why Mudhoney has 2 and Pearl Jam has 1, and the 1 PJ (Ten) might be somewhere around their 5th best album!

      • Ten. Absolutely baffling. I would argue that Vs. or Vitalogy is more important – especially in PJ’s trajectory. But then, Ten sold millions, I guess.

      • I thought maybe Vitalogy might have an argument for significance too with the Ticketmaster story. Not to mention its general album excellence!

      • Indeed! You know what? The folks that compile the 1001 know nothing! Pah!

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