Most '90s rock bands who enjoyed massive breakthrough success with their debut album seemed to follow it up with an effort similarly styled to its predecessor, hence guaranteeing repeat success. This proved not to be the case with Blind Melon. It appeared as though the band rejected the jovial spirit of No Rain and focused on much darker material for their follow-up, Soup. While it did not match the commercial success of the debut, Soup proved to be a challenging, gripping record that is just as strong and perhaps even more rewarding. Shannon Hoon was in the throes of drug addiction (which would prove fatal only two months after the album's release), and his experience at a drug detox is clearly detailed in the Zep-groover, "2x4." Hoon's lyrics often examine his growing sense of mortality, as evidenced in "The Duke," "St. Andrew's Fall," and "Car Seat," while "New Life" shows Hoon hoping that the birth of his baby daughter will put his life back on track. The country-tinged "Skinned" is written from the standpoint of notorious killer, Ed Gein, the anthemic rocker, "Galaxie," appears to deal with a troubled relationship, and "Vernie" is a tribute to his grandmother. Some of the tracks prove hopeful ("Walk"), while others are steeped in despair ("Toes Across the Floor," "Wilt"). Soup deserved to be another big hit, but due to MTV and radio's abrupt abandonment of the band, harsh reviews from close-minded critics, and worst of all, Hoon's untimely death mid-tour, all hopes of the album receiving the attention it deserved were extinguished. Soup is one of the most underrated and overlooked great rock albums of the '90s.
by Greg Prato