Record #438: Audioslave – Audioslave (2002)


I’ve never been a huge Rage Against the Machine fan. I’m not sure if I’ve ever knowingly listened to Soundgarden. In fact, I still get Soundgarden and Savage Garden confused.

But in 2002, I was watching Fuse and the video for “Like A Stone” came on, and it blew my freaking mind.

A little later, I saw the video for “Show Me How to Live.” I realized that I would be an idiot if I didn’t buy the CD immediately.
Fifteen years later, those two singles hit just as hard as they did the first time I heard them. And what’s even more remarkable is how strong the deeper cuts are. Many of the tracks could have been singles themselves. Big riffs drive most of the tracks, setting the stage for Chris Cornell’s gritty howl and Tom Morello’s effects-laden solos.

The rockers on here are dripping with rock and roll swagger that demands your banging head and your raised fist. The ballads are as moving as the faster tracks are ballsy. “I Am the Highway” and “Getaway Car” follow much of the same format as “Like a Stone,” but without getting trapped in its shadow.

My personal favorite track is “Shadow on the Sun,” an emotive slowburner that starts as a ballad and ends up heavier than anything on here.

Through the years, this record has aged incredibly. While Chris’s death has put a few of the songs into a darker light (especially “Set It Off”), this album stands strong on its own two feet, unencumbered by the expectations put on it by the two bands it merges.



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