Jason’s Jukebox: Soul Asylum

soul asylum

In 1992, Soul Asylum released their breakthrough album, Grave Dancer’s Union, beginning a brief brush with fame. But in reality, the band started in 1981, eleven years prior. In 2016, they released their newest album, Change of Fortune. I figured this would be a good time to look at the history of the band so far.

The current line-up is:

  • Dave Pirner: vocals, guitar
  • Michael Bland: drums, backing vocals
  • Winston Roye: bass, backing vocals
  • Ryan Smith: lead guitar, backing vocals


Say What You Will Clarence…Karl Sold the Truck (1984)**

Singles: “Walking”, “Happy”, “Religiavsion”

This was the first of three albums on the Twin/Tone label. The “Karl” in the album’s title is Karl Mueller, the band’s first bassist. It has a rather rough sound, and is kind of meh.

Best Tracks: “Dragging Me Down”, “Religiavision”, “Broken Glass”


Made to Be Broken (1986)**

Singles: “Never Really Been”, “Tied to the Tracks”, “Made to Be Broken”

1986 was quite a busy year for Soul Asylum, as they released three albums, one of which was cassette only, and will not be covered in this article.

Best Tracks: “Never Really Been”, “Tied to the Tracks”, “Long Way Home”

while you

While You Were Out (1986) ***

Singles: “Crashing Down”, “Lap of Luxury”, “Never Too Soon”, “The Judge”

This marked the end of the Twin/Tone era. “The Judge” was covered by the Wildhearts and “Closer to the Stars” by Automatic 7.

Best tracks: “Crashing Down”, “The Judge”, “Sun Don’t Shine”, “Closer to the Stars”

hang time

Hang Time (1988) ***

Singles: “Marionette”, “Little Too Clean”, “Cartoon”

This was the band’s major label debut, this time with A&M records. Dan Murphy temporarily joined the band with this album.

Best tracks: “Little Too Clean”, “Cartoon”, “Endless Farewell”, “Marionette”

clam dip

Clam Dip and Other Delights (1989) * (EP)

The title of this EP is actually a parody of Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights, a nod to their record label’s founder, Herb Alpert.

Best Tracks: “Chains”, “P-9”

and the horse

And the Horse They Rode in On (1990) ****

Singles: “Brand New Shine”, “Easy Street”, “Veil of Tears”, “Nice Guys (Don’t Get Paid)”

Their final album with A&M, and one of their best overall.

Best Tracks: “Veil of Tears”, “Something Out of Nothing”, “Easy Street”, “Be On Your Way”


Grave Dancers Union (1992)*****

Singles: “Somebody to Shove”, “Black Gold”, “Without a Trace”

This album was the band’s biggest seller, certified triple platinum. It’s excellent. It began their relationship with Columbia. The title comes from a lyric in “Without a Trace”. “Black Gold” was parodied by Weird Al with “The Night Santa Went Crazy”.

Best tracks: “Black Gold”, “Runaway Train”, “Without a Trace”, “Homesick”, “Get On Out”

dim light

Let Your Dim Light Shine (1995) ****

Singles: “Misery”, “Just Like Anyone”

Not quite as good as the predecessor, but far from bad. “Misery” was parodied by Weird Al as “Syndicated Incorporated”. The title comes from a lyric in “Promises Broken”.

Best Tracks: “Misery”, “Promises Broken”, “Just Like Anyone”, “String of Pearls”


Candy From a Stranger (1998) ***

Singles: “I Will Still Be Laughing”, “Close”

This ended their relationship with Columbia, probably because Columbia shelved the album for a year because they were disappointed with it.

Best Tracks: “I Will Still Be Laughing”, “Creatures of Habit”, “Blood Into Wine”, “Lies of Hate”

silver lining.png

The Silver Lining  (2006)**1/2

Singles: “Stand Up and Be Strong”, “Standing Water”

This was Karl Mueller’s final album, as he died of cancer two weeks after its release. “Stand Up and Be Strong” was used by ESPN as a theme for a time.

Best Tracks: “Stand Up and Be Strong”, “Crazy Mixed-up World”, “Bus Named Desire”


Delayed Reaction (2012) **

Single: “Gravity”

This album marked the debut of Michael Bland, formerly a drummer for Prince’s New Power Generation.

Best Tracks: “Gravity”, “By the Way”, “Cruel Intentions”


Change of Fortune (2016) ***1/2

Singles: “Supersonic”, “Doomsday”

The band’s most recent album, and one I really enjoyed listening to. It’s good to see they still got it, even without Karl Mueller being around anymore.

Best Tracks: “Doomsday”, “Moonshine”, “When I See You”, “Change of Fortune”

Next up, a true classic. I’m celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd!




Author: rocklobsterjwt

I am a Christian and an anime fan. My blog will cover anime reviews and maybe an occasional story

One thought on “Jason’s Jukebox: Soul Asylum”

  1. Don’t know the band very well, but Runaway Train has been one of my favorite songs for so many years. And I remember seeing them play on SNL all those many years ago!

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