I’m in absolute shock over the news of Chris Cornell. It’s mind boggling to think that he is gone. Chris had such a profound impact on rock music with his voice, lyrics, and songwriting. I would even put Chris on the list of greatest singers ever. I remember the first time I heard Soundgarden way back when I was a little kid around 7 or 8 and “Outshined” came on. I was mesmerized by it. My mom was really into it and she’s the one that went out and bought Bad Motor Finger. From that point, I was hooked on Soundgarden. I spent many a night when I was young listening to music and studying the lyrics of my favorites. Chris Cornell had such a poetic touch to his words. My personal favorite Soundgarden album is Down On The Upside. There is something about that album that really hits home. I can’t tell you what, but, there is something really magical about that record.
When I heard that Chris had joined forces with the remaining members of Rage Against The Machine, I was beyond excited. Then I heard “Cochise” and was instantly sold. Audioslave became such a great vehicle for Chris to expand his already poetic sensibilities, and share a different side of himself. It wasn’t until the bands last album Revelations, that Audioslave truly found their sound but, Chris really went for it lyrically and vocally on that album. Check out the songs “Wide Awake” and “Moth” and you’ll hear what I mean.
I feel lucky to have seen Chris perform 4 times over the years. Twice with Audioslave, once solo, and once with Soundgarden when they toured with Nine Inch Nails a few years ago. Chris was always great live. His presence on stage was gripping and captivating. I’ve had this thought for a while that, if Robert Plant really didn’t want to be a part of doing shows with Led Zeppelin that, they should get Chris Cornell to fill the spot. If you think about it, you know that would be something great and amazing.
Here’s to all the great music and words Chris left us. His legacy is intact with great songs and performances. I feel for his children. I hope at some point they can come to terms with this loss.
Here are a few of my favorite songs Chris has been a part of.
This new feature is another fun one. I get to show you all things that just were really bad ideas. There are so many bad ideas in music, and I feel compelled to share them with you all and get your opinions.
For the first bad idea let us start with Audioslave deciding to play Rage Against The Machine songs as well as Soundgarden songs (but those aren’t as bad as the RAGE part). This was a bad idea. The idea of Audioslave is a good idea, but this was atrocious. First off different vocalist with a completely different range and personality. Chris Cornell for all the great vocal performances, really doesn’t do this song or any of the Rage songs they played justice. It seems forced and uninspired. Audioslave played “Killin In The Name Of,” “Sleep Now In The Fire,” and “Bulls on Parade.” each one was worse than the other. I sadly witnessed this live when Audioslave started touring on their second album, the very underwhelming Out Of Exile. Note that when they first came out the didn’t play any of their previous bands songs. The Soundgarden songs fall short as well. You could tell that Chris, was over those songs and wanted to move on from that part of his life. Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk are great at their instruments but the way they played the Soundgarden songs, it just didn’t feel right. Their unique styles just don’t convey the songs the way the original players did.
I really want to know who suggested the band play their old bands songs. Was this a management or record label decision? Who ever thought of this is an idiot. The only ever time an idea like this worked, and I mean the ONLY TIME, is when Joe Walsh became a member of the Eagles, and they would perform Rocky Mountain Way.
Anyways, here are Audioslave’s performances of them performing Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden songs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
When Audioslave broke on to the music scene they were met with very high expectations. Their debut album was a really great album, full of great songs and a renewed sense of energy for each other the members. Their second album was hit and miss. There were some really good songs but as a whole it just didn’t come across as well. When Audioslave released their third album Revelations, they finally hit the mark and found their sound. This would be their final album sadly. Rather than working with Rick Rubin on this album the band chose Brendan O’Brien, with whom both Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden have worked with in the past. Brendan was able to really capture the essence of what this band is and was. There are more influences on this album as well delving into funk and soul. This was also the first album which Chris Cornell was sober during the making of. Audioslave did not tour on this album, instead they broke up.
Revelations though as their swan song is brilliant. The first song “Revelations” really sets the tone for the album. It’s such a great song. The songs “Wide Awake” and “Shape of Things to Come” were prominently featured in Michael Mann’s horrible film adaption of Miami Vice. Both of these songs are tremendous. “Wide Awake,” evokes some political angst as well. The song is about Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. “Until We Fall,” is another song that really shows the progression of Audioslave. The closing song “Moth” is a bit of foreshadowing for what was about to happen to the band. The song is powerful and one of the most inspiring songs on the album. Chris Cornell’s voice really shines on this song (along with “Wide Awake”).
The entire band was clicking on all cylinders one this album. It’s shame they couldn’t last longer. Thankfully there have been news reports as of late that both Tom Morello and Chris Cornell said they would be open to working together again. Let’s hope so. I would love to see Audioslave return.