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Ocean of Confusion - Songs of Screaming Trees 1990-1996

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iTunes Review

Ocean of Confusion tracks the period of Screaming Trees’ musical maturity, starting in 1989 with Buzz Factory and continuing to 1996, when the release of Dust confirmed the Trees' stature as the pre-eminent psychedelic band of the grunge era. Mark Lanegan—whose courage and vulnerability as a vocalist was the group's most defining trait—personally selected the songs. Aside from their biggest rock songs (“Ocean of Confusion,” “For Celebrations Past,” the still-magnificent hit “Nearly Lost You”), the compilation also shows how much the Trees did to subvert grunge conventions. Little touches like the brass section on “Disappearing” and the flutes of “Traveler” showed that their interests lay far outside the boundaries of hard rock. Lanegan was always a frontman more in the mold of Jim Morrison and Lee Hazlewood than Robert Plant, and the two unreleased songs here show him at his brooding best. “Watchpocket Blues” and “Paperback Bible” both start with deceptively slow passages before building to throttling choruses. Pop smarts, psychedelic inventiveness, and impassioned choruses: Screaming Trees had it all. This is the proof.

Customer Reviews

Good, but.....

Why is it on Chris Cornell's page?

Buy this if you don't already have it all, already... I do. In truth, I do not own this album, but I do own nearly every release by the Screaming Trees (including the leaving-much-to-be-desired SST anthology). But I do believe that this encapsulates the career of Seattle's best also-rans. I grew up to classic rock, and grunge hit when I was in my early teens. Of course, I loved Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Mudhoney, but the Screaming Trees were my favorite (and before the rise of the internet, I felt like the only one, all the way over on the east coast). But, with time, I feel like I outgrew the Trees. The only album I'd really listen to start to finish was "Dust". I leaned more towards Lanegan's solo work, it just seemed more sophisticated. But this album sort of puts things in to perspective for me. Their music matured at the same pace as my taste (does that sound pretentious or what?), and I never really thought of it in a linear sense before I listened to this album through. Not only does it make me appreciate the earlier cuts all over again, but it makes the later albums all the more impressive and personal for me. And it's important for people who hear the name Screaming Trees and can only think of "Nearly Lost You" to realize that that song was really only the mid-point of their musical timeline.

Get "Dust" instead

I only have the last two Trees albums and the SST Anthology. The SST stuff is just OK, "Sweet Oblivion" is quite good though a bit meat-and-potatoes for my taste, but "Dust" is a gem. The tracks this collection picks from "Sweet Oblivion" are all excellent, and I'm sure you could do a lot worse than to start here. But why did they include the only two mediocre tracks from "Dust" ("Make My Mind" and "Witness") at the expense of, say, "All I Know" or "Halo of Ashes"? Believe me, the group's final release, "Dust" - which went largely unnoticed at the time - is well worth getting, and if you're inclined to pick up a physical copy, it can be had at cutout prices. On the other hand, if you have already ponied up for "Ocean of Confusion" you know what to get next.


Formed: 1985 in Ellensburg, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Where many of their Seattle-based contemporaries dealt in reconstructed Black Sabbath and Stooges riffs, Screaming Trees fused '60s psychedelia and garage rock with '70s hard rock and '80s punk. Over the course of their career, their more abrasive punk roots eventually gave way to a hard-edged, rootsy psychedelia that drew from rock and folk equally. After releasing several albums on indie labels like SST and Sub Pop, Screaming Trees moved to Epic Records in 1989. Though they were one of the first...
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Ocean of Confusion - Songs of Screaming Trees 1990-1996, Screaming Trees
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