My Personal Top 15 Soundgarden Songs

Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, passed away last night from an “apparent suicide”.

While I could very well do one of these for Audioslave and his solo career as well, I’d like to do a top 15 of one of my favorite bands of all time instead.

Like many gone too soon from the grunge genre, Cornell struggled with drug use his entire life from the age of 13, so below are two links:
If  you’re struggling with drug addiction, or just dealing with issues involving drugs at all, this site is a great resource for information and help in getting started going in the right direction.
The National Suicide Prevention hotline.  If you’re having suicidal thoughts, it isn’t your fault, and it’s okay to reach out for help.

There’s so many good Soundgarden songs that almost everyone’s list will be different, but this here is mine.

#15: Limo Wreck

“Limo Wreck” is the ninth song on the album, Superunknown.  

Cornell described it as a “shame-on-decadence song”.

#14: Nazi Driver

“Nazi Driver” is the tenth song of Soundgarden’s debut album, Ultramega OK.

Guitarist Kim Thayil said the song is about “cutting up Nazis and making stew out of them,” which is something I think we can all get behind.

#13: Searching with My Good Eye Closed

“Searching with My Good Eye Closed” is the seventh song on Badmotorfinger.

“A lot of times, like on ‘Searching With My Good Eye Closed,’ I’ll sort of let the music write the lyric. What I enjoy doing is making paintings with lyrics – creating colorful images. I think that’s more entertaining and what music should be.” — Chris Cornell

#12: Rusty Cage

“Rusty Cage” is the third single and opening track of Badmotorfinger.

“Rusty Cage” was one of the band’s most successful singles, and Johnny Cash went on to cover the song on his 1996 album, Unchained.

#11: Black Hole Sun

“Black Hole Sun” is the seventh song and third single from Superunknown.

Arguably the band’s most popular song, it was the number one song of “Modern Rock Tracks” in 1994, along with Cornell saying he wrong the entire song in just 15 minutes.

#10: Outshined

“Outshined” is the second track and second single from Badmotorfinger.

The band Megadeth paid tribute to Cornell today (aka very early tomorrow) in Tokyo at their concert by performing this song.

#9: Blow Up the Outside World

“Blow Up the Outside World” is the third single and sixth song from Down on the Upside.

The song spent four weeks as number one of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and Cornell went on record admitting he was “a little fucked up” when he wrote it.

#8: Jesus Christ Pose

“Jesus Christ Pose” is the first single and fourth track off of Badmotorfinger.

The music video for this song has a notorious reputation after being banned from airing on MTV for it’s “anti-Christian themes” and for crucifying a woman on a cross.  Ironically, they received death threats (for being anti-Christian), along with it being one of the few videos the band was actually happy with.

#7: Fell on Black Days

“Fell on Black Days” is the fifth single and third track on Superunknown.

Cornell had this to say about the song:

“‘Fell on Black Days’ was like this ongoing fear I’ve had for years…It’s a feeling that everyone gets. You’re happy with your life, everything’s going well, things are exciting—when all of a sudden you realize you’re unhappy in the extreme, to the point of being really, really scared. There’s no particular event you can pin the feeling down to, it’s just that you realize one day that everything in your life is FUCKED!”

#6: Burden in My Hand

“Burden in My Hand” is the second single and seventh song off Down on the Upside.

Many have debated on whether the song is made to be seen at face value, or has an underlying meaning of Cornell talking about his drug addiction.  He later responded with this:

“That was a song that really came from the guitar itself. It was mostly like the guitar was dictating what the lyrics should be and creating a mental image. The mental image was this sort of destitute guy. I guess he’d lost his cool if you want to put it that way. He’s sort of coming to grips with what had happened and not necessarily feeling particularly emotional about it either way. He’s trying to figure out how he would stand up and put one foot in front of the other—or not—and the song never really resolves any of that. It’s just that moment of somebody sitting in the dirt. I had more moments like that after that song was written than I ever had before it was, so it means a lot more to me now than it did then.”

#5: Pretty Noose

“Pretty Noose” is the opening track and first single from Down on the Upside.

Frank Kozik, the director of the music video, described the song as “your average bad-girlfriend experience,” an interpretation that Cornell agreed with.

#4: Slaves & Bulldozers

“Slaves & Bulldozers” is the third track from Badmotorfinger.

In anticipation of their 1992 Lollapalooza tour, the band released an EP with a limited edition Badmotorfinger titled Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas, which is a wild palindrome, that contained three covers, an unreleased song, and a live version of this song.

#3: Superunknown

^this music video is like a Windows ’98 screensaver from Hell.

“Superunknown” is the fifth song and title track of Superunknown.

The song was later released on a fittingly titled EP Songs from the Superunknown, that was accompanied by a CD-Rom that was released on the same day titled Alive from the Superunknown, that had photos, games, music videos, and all sorts of other bizarre goodies.

#2: Spoonman

“Spoonman” is the first single and eighth track from Superunknown.

The song was inspired by Artis the Spoonman, a street performer in Santa Cruz and Seattle, who plays a music set with spoons, and you can hear him performing with drummer Matt Cameron during the iconic drum solo in the song.

This also was one of the songs that made me want to learn how to play drums when I was a wee lad, and so it holds a special place in my heart.

#1: The Day I Tried to Live

“The Day I Tried to Live” is the second single and tenth song from Superunknown.

Cornell has this to say about the song:

“It’s about trying to step out of being patterned and closed off and reclusive, which I’ve always had a problem with. It’s about attempting to be normal and just go out and be around other people and hang out. I have a tendency to sometimes be pretty closed off and not see people for long periods of time and not call anyone.

It’s actually, in a way, a hopeful song. Especially the lines “One more time around/Might do it”, which is basically saying, ‘I tried today to understand and belong and get along with other people, and I failed, but I’ll probably try again tomorrow.’ A lot of people misinterpreted that song as a suicide-note song. Taking the word “live” too literally. “The Day I Tried to Live” means more like the day I actually tried to open up myself and experience everything that’s going on around me as opposed to blowing it all off and hiding in a cave.”

Rest in Peace, Chris Cornell.


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