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Old 10-21-2009, 07:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Soul Asylum (Official Thread)


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Soul Asylum



Soul Asylum were a great severely underrated band that started in the 80's but finally peaked in the 90's! The band finally succeeded in the midst of the grunge movement but their sound was so much more than just falling into a Grunge also ran list. They were very adventurous and Dave Pirner sang rock but with enough soul to be Grunge's Marvin Gaye (which coincidentally he covered on an album). Seriously though, at best Soul Asylum could make it into my top five bands who were around in their peak years! When I heard the first single off of:

Grave Dancers Union


I was hooked. The single for those who aren't familiar was:

Somebody to Shove


The band takes what are somewhat flat and uninspiring lyrics and gives them life! It blasts into a cool guitar riff with a drum beat as Pirner gives a stellar whispering dose of vocal tension and articulates each line like a true story teller. Dave embodies the songs he sings with his movements and his wavering trembling voice wrapping around every word. The band is equally passionate as they nearly collide when they are harmonizing together. The whole song is energy and that is a great way to be introduced to a band that had found it's sound!


Then the next single was what is my favorite "Grave Dancers Union" song!

Black Gold


This starts on a less explosive note and the band smartly let's Daves vocals take center stage as this is a storytellers song! On the other hand the chorus is a lot more effective on this one as everything up to that point is a more subdued sound that is more Americana than heavy rock. The whole song builds with each chorus being belted out more effectively as it goes to the point where Dave's voice trembles with the force and emotion of it! The guitars change constantly but seamlessly. They are never boring and they move the listener along. The laid back solo with the sirens into the heavy guitars is an example of a guitar solo I think works! It true to the song and not excessive. The song plain moves me!

Then the staple of the album:

Runaway Train


Was this song overrated? Maybe, but it made sense that it caught on and hey, the band deserved the break whether it was this single that catapulted them or not! The song is brilliant in that it gets buried in your head. It's a great, simple melody which is as ingenious to create as any epic could be. The song was also covering a topic that hadn't been addressed musically in the mainstream 'til then (that I know of anyway) and the lyrics were done well! The band showed that they could show just as much emotion restrained as they could with buildups and intense delivery.


Grave Dancers Union to me even with these great songs left something to be desired as a whole album IMO which is why I was so glad to here the followup. I like all of it but the band was just finally finding their sound and creative peak IMO. Their creative peak was reached with:

Let Your Dim Light Shine


I love this album track for track and think it's an unheralded classic for it's time! If I was going to do album reviews for underrated albums this would be in my top five. Here are what I think are the standouts!

The two best singles off it IMO were:

Just Like Anyone


I could have done with or without Misery as a lead off single. It wasn't bad but I hated the lyrics which are hit or miss with this group. If Grunge had an emo song it would be that one. Just Like Anyone had that intense buildup that I loved with Somebody to Shove and had a better chorus than that one. It may be the best song with an outhouse in it ever! It only gets better as it's such a sweet piece of Grunge candy from the middle on!

Promises Broken


This song is by far the best ballad song from Soul Asylum even including Runaway Train! This is the Jimmy Buffet escapist anthem of Grunge! I'm not playing the single version because it adds an annoying reverb to the track. This shows how versatile the group is though. It's a very countryish vibe but as opposed to farms, tractors and pigshit you picture yourself walking on sandy beach with a cool sea breeze hitting your face. The harmonies on here are perfect. It's one of the best chill songs ever!

Two album songs that really stand out as favorites are:

String Of Pearls

That song is my favorite Soul Asylum song period! The lyrics make no sense but I love singing around to it because it sounds like it should make sense the way it tells a story and is put together. That is song magic by putting anything together just because of how you tell it. That's the magic Nirvana had. A vocalist who could sing the phone book with the conviction to make you feel it. The background music also tells the story with it's journey with it's R & B grooves, drum beats and ebbs and flows! A brilliant song IMO!

I suggest listening to the studio album first but the live version is great as well as you get to see the instruments included and how great they can be live:


String of Pearls (Live)


Caged Rat


This is a great song and also has that cool R&B feel they've adapted mixed with hard rock and a tinge of Jazz/Reggae! I love the contrast in this song! The song has everything even a howl like Werewolves of London!

So here's my thread to give my due to a band that doesn't get brought up nearly enough when it comes to '90s nostalgia! If anyone has any other material that they thought was great from these guys feel free to share! Thoughts, opinions, etc. Peace!
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Last edited by Magic; 10-21-2009 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: "The Official Soul Asylum Thread"

Another great band! I like Soul Asylum. I like their earlier works too.



Made to be Broken the 2nd release from 1986 is pretty decent.


Tied to the Tracks" – 2:45
"Ship of Fools" – 2:48
"Can't Go Back" – 3:05 (Murphy)
"Another World, Another Day" – 1:59
"Made to Be Broken" – 2:35
"Never Really Been" – 2:52
"Whoa!" – 2:32
"New Feelings" – 1:46
"Growing Pain" – 2:17
"Long Way Home" – 2:27
"Lone Rider" – 1:50
"Ain't That Tough" – 3:34
"Don't It (Make Your Troubles Seem Small)" – 2:48


Never Really Been
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: "The Official Soul Asylum Thread"

Great band,I really love Grave Dancers Union,Silver Lining, & Hang Time. I really loved when they jammed at the R & R Hall of fame concert with Iggy & then Lou Reed. I wish they released a DVD of the show.I have the double CD & it's worth it alone for Iggy & SA playing "Backdoor Man" & Lou Reed & SA performing "Sweet Jane".
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Old 10-21-2009, 01:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: "The Official Soul Asylum Thread"

Everyone knows the song Runaway train.. not many know the band Thank you Bry for updating me. I'll check them out.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: "The Official Soul Asylum Thread"

I always liked Soul Asylums cover of Sexual Healing!

Sexual Healing
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: "The Official Soul Asylum Thread"

Not a very big fan, but I'll share one thing. I saw these guys when I was in college back in 88 (or maybe 89). It was an outdoor concert in the 'commons' area between some of the student dorms and some of the class buildings. There were four bands, but for the life of me, I can't remember the first one. The next 3 were as follows:

Trip Shakespear (which eventually/basically turned into Semisonic)
Soul Asylum
The Replacements.



Kind of a cool concert. Again, I wasn't huge into the music, but the concert was fun. BTW, this was a free concert on a college campus. When is the last time THAT happened?
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: "The Official Soul Asylum Thread"

Originally Posted by Lynch View Post
Not a very big fan, but I'll share one thing. I saw these guys when I was in college back in 88 (or maybe 89). It was an outdoor concert in the 'commons' area between some of the student dorms and some of the class buildings. There were four bands, but for the life of me, I can't remember the first one. The next 3 were as follows:

Trip Shakespear (which eventually/basically turned into Semisonic)
Soul Asylum
The Replacements.



Kind of a cool concert. Again, I wasn't huge into the music, but the concert was fun. BTW, this was a free concert on a college campus. When is the last time THAT happened?
I have to credit my college for really pulling through for us halfway through my stay there. We had the interesting combination of Howie Day, Sponge and Blessid Union of Souls one year foir a free concert! I'll watch anyone for free! Soul Asylum fan or not I get the impression they would've put on a very energetic show!
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Old 10-18-2010, 03:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default re: Soul Asylum (Official Thread)

Been getting into these guys again recently! I have about three albums to get at some point because they've released two studio albums and a what I hear is a great live album since Dim Light... came out! Great band that I've unfairly neglected and I really like! If I were a singer I'd pick songs from them to perform because of it's energy! I added a lot to my original writeup and updated the thread links, etc.!

Here's another great Soul Asylum track until I can truly rate the more recent work:

Without A Trace (Grave Dancers Union)


Eyes Of A Child (Live Version of Let Your Dim Light Shine)
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default re: Soul Asylum (Official Thread)

I've been loving there live album 'After the Flood: Live from the Grand Forks Prom, June 28, 1997' . This is a great friggin' entertaining album!!!

Not only does it have the classic Soul Asylum stuff like "Runaway Train", "Black Gold", "Without a Trace", "Black Star", "Misery", & "Somebody to Shove" but there are plenty of fun covers & I mean fun. They cover "School's Out", "The Tracks of My Tears", "Sexual Healing", "I Know"(90's hit by Dion Farris), "I Can See Clearly Now", & even "To Sir, with Love" & "Rhinestone Cowboy"
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rtbuck View Post
I've been loving there live album 'After the Flood: Live from the Grand Forks Prom, June 28, 1997' . This is a great friggin' entertaining album!!!

Not only does it have the classic Soul Asylum stuff like "Runaway Train", "Black Gold", "Without a Trace", "Black Star", "Misery", & "Somebody to Shove" but there are plenty of fun covers & I mean fun. They cover "School's Out", "The Tracks of My Tears", "Sexual Healing", "I Know"(90's hit by Dion Farris), "I Can See Clearly Now", & even "To Sir, with Love" & "Rhinestone Cowboy"
Oooh, I need to get that album! I LOVE the Sexual Healing cover from the No Alternative SNDTRK.!
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