May 2017 Playlist (Dedicated To Chris Cornell)
22 May 2017
Chris Cornell died on May 17, 2017.
This month’s playlist is dedicated to Chris.
When I heard about Chris’s passing, my initial impulse was to write my feelings about such a tragic situation and try to express with words how much my life was affected by his music since I was a very young man.
But no. I will leave that to other writers who are better at expressing grief and sadness.
I have decided, instead, to celebrate his life and his contributions to music by sharing five of my favorite Chris Cornell songs. These few songs have been companions to important moments of my life, and I know, maybe they’re not his best songs (that’s subjective anyway), but they mean a lot to me.
Believe me, it was hard to trim it down to just a few. I could just as easily share 100 of his songs here.
Enjoy these songs and celebrate the life of a genius that left us way too soon.
Chris Cornell – Sunshower
When melody and words work together to create a perfect musical piece, songs like Sunshower happen. This song was released as part of a soundtrack for the movie Great Expectations (which included some other mind-blowing songs like Tori Amos’s Siren). The moment I found out that Chris was no longer with us, this song immediately came to my mind and reminded me that even when things get pretty damn awful, we have to stay hopeful that things will (and they really do) get better. If only Chris took his own advice that night…
Temple Of The Dog – Say Hello 2 Heaven
Temple of the Dog was a short-lived supergroup featuring members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. They only put out a single album and never really toured (until recently when they performed a set of concerts in the USA to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this project). This song, which can be considered the centerpiece and highlight of this album, was written by Chris as a tribute to his close friend Andy Wood, who died of a drug overdose. His heartfelt lyrics and vocal delivery resonate stronger than ever, now that it was his own turn to say hello to heaven.
Soundgarden – Outshined
After days of reflection and coming to terms with the fact that Chris was no longer with us, I figured it was time to stop feeling heavy and depressed by this whole situation and instead focus my attention on celebrating his musical legacy. What could I do but turn to one of Soundgaren’s most heavy and rocking tunes? I don’t know but this songs always makes me feel a certain power, like I could do anything, like I could probably run a thousand miles or beat the sh*t out of a 200lbs ass giving me any crap… not that I will do either, but yeah, kinda feels like I could. Show me the power child…
Chris Cornell – Preaching The End Of The World
This one brings so, so many memories from my teenage years… from back when Soundgarden broke up and Chris released his first solo effort, Euphoria Morning. I remember feeling very let down by the soft and acoustic nature of that album when it came out (hey, I wanted nothing but heavy grunge and metal in those days!). But there was something about this song, something that clicked me right off the bat… it expressed many, many of my teenager feelings. Eventually, this album grew on me to the point where it is without a doubt, one of the most inspiring albums I’ve heard in my entire life. Some of you might not remember this, but a few years ago making cassette or CD playlists for other people was a thing… well, this song, Preaching the End of the World, was part of the most important playlist I ever created for someone else. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
Soundgarden – Birth Ritual
When Soundgarden went sludgy and heavy, they went heavy like a million tons of metal raining on you. Turn it up as loud as you can, but be careful, after listening to Chris scream and wail in this song there can be some side effects like altering your brain structure, make you quit your job, grow your hair long, join a rock band, crowdsurf, and feel alive…
Audioslave – I Am The Highway
Full disclosure: I was never a big fan of Audioslave and always thought their efforts paled in comparison to what Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine had accomplished. However, some gems came out of this talented collaboration, including this song, I Am the Highway. Beautiful, evocative lyrics, a nice and calm melody and of course, Chris’s delivery which made it a stand out piece in Audioslave’s discography. For some reason I feel this could’ve worked better as part of one of his solo albums, particularly if given the Euphoria Morning treatment, but anyway, this is a special one so it needed to be here.
Temple Of The Dog – Hunger Strike
Last in this playlist, another song to celebrate life. For this one we need to go back to Temple of the Dog, this time with the song Hunger Strike. Being a young kid I was easily impressed and having two of my musical heroes collaborating and singing together in one song was just magical and those exciting emotions I felt back then listening to this song always come back whenever I play this song. I can’t imagine the headspace Eddie Vedder must be in after the devastating news, but I only wish he can find resignation after losing his close friend.
There is really nothing else I’d like to add here. Just want to say rest in peace, Chris… Say hello 2 heaven.
My thoughts go out to Chris’s family and friends.
If you’d like to explore my previous playlists click here.