Songs That Define Me: Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell is probably my favorite songwriter. He writes from a place where I spend a great deal of my time. Former addict. Former asshole. Talented fucker.

As part of my Songs That Define Me series, here are five of my favorite Chris Cornell songs. Two solo. Three from Soundgarden.

I love his Temple of the Dog stuff too. Reach Down is one of my favorite songs of all time and the song I want played at my funeral. But that song doesn’t really define me. It’s more of an aspiration.

And I like his stuff with Audioslave… musically. But he phones it in lyrically on every thing they do. Still great songwriting. Great poetry. Just light on substance.

chris cornell

But anyway these are songs that mean a lot to me. They make me feel good. They make me feel like I’m not alone in my experiences and they get me pumped. All five of these song have been known to pull me out of depression. I include the lyrics with each. And for each I chose an acoustic version just because without all the extra production value you can really hear the songs.

The first two are self-explanatory and need no introduction.

Fell On Black Days by Soundgarden (from Superunknown)

Whatsoever I’ve feared has come to life.
Whatsoever I’ve fought off became my life.
Just when everyday seemed to greet me with a smile.
Sunspots have faded and now I’m doing time. Now I’m doing time.

Cause I fell on black days. I fell on black days.

Whomsoever I’ve cured I’ve sickened now
Whomsoever I’ve cradled I’ve put you down
I’m a search light soul they say
But I can’t see it in the night
I’m only faking when I get it right. When I get it right.

Cause I fell on black days. I fell on black days.

How would I know that this could be my fate?

How would I know that this could be my fate?

So what you wanted to see good has made you blind
And what you wanted to be yours has made it mine
So don’t you lock up something that you wanted to see fly
Hands are for shaking
Not tying, no not tying

I sure won’t mind a change.

I sure won’t mind a change.

I sure won’t mind a change.

I sure won’t mind. I sure don’t mind a change.

But I fell on black days. I fell on black days.

How would I know that this could be my fate?

But I sure won’t mind a change.

———————————————————————

Blow Up The Outside World by Soundgarden (from Down on the Upside)

Nothing seems to kill me no matter how hard I try.
Nothing is closing my eyes
Nothing can bring me down for your pain or delight. No.
And nothing seems to break me
No matter how far I fall nothing can break me at all
Not one for giving up though not invincible.

I know.

I’d give you everything I need
I’d give you everything I own
Then everything could at least be ours alone
I’d give you everything I could
To blow it to hell and gone
Burrow down in and
Blow up the outside. Blow up the outside. Blow up the outside world.

Someone tried to tell me something,
“Don’t let the world bring you down”
Nothing can do me in before I do myself
So save it for your own and the ones you can help.

I’d give you everything I need
I’d give you everything I own
I’d give in if it could at least be ours alone
I’d give you everything I could
To blow it to hell and gone
Burrow down in and
Blow up the outside. Blow up the outside. Blow up the outside world.

Want to make it understood
Wanting though I never would
Trying though I know it’s wrong
Blowing it to hell and gone
Wishing though I never could
Blow up the outside world.

Blow up the outside.

Blow up the outside world.

———————————————————-

This next one is probably my favorite of his songs. This is an acoustic version like all the others but the driving rock version of this song is exhilarating.

No Such Thing by Chris Cornell (from Carry On)

I saw the world, it was beautiful
But the rain got in and ruined it all
Then I tried to be invisible
It was impossible
Even for me

I laughed at love, it was a big mistake
In the absence of I filled it with hate

‘Cause there’s no such thing as nothing
Yeah There’s no such thing as nothing at all

I had the brains not to think at all
But the rain got in
And I thought too hard
On the world, and as usual
I saw too far into the void.

I tried to make everything meaningless
But the rain got in and made it a mess!

‘Cause there’s no such thing as nothing
Yeah there’s no such thing as nothing at all
Yeah there’s no such thing as nothing
But my finger’s on the trigger
And I’ll turn off the world

So what gives me the right
To think that I could throw away a life?
Even mine

And what makes you believe
That you could get away with getting old?
Overlapping me

Maybe to lose or to save your soul
Is a choice of how you fill the hole

But the rain got in…

‘Cause there’s no such thing as nothing
Yeah there’s no such thing as nothing at all
There’s no such thing as nothing
But my finger’s on the trigger
That’ll turn off the world.

—————————————————————–

This next song is political but very personal. It has a triple meaning for me (as an addict and as a schizophrenic). Doing something you know is wrong but doing it anyway. Doing something you know is killing you but doing it anyway. Silencing the voices that say no. At the beginning Chris explains the songs meaning. This is a terrible video but a great version of the song.

Silence The Voices by Chris Cornell (form Carry On)

There the soldiers, in the sunlight
Kill the center of a man in endless suicide.
By the night light, in forever sky
Is a holstered, bridled child spinning around the flame.
Each is loved now or remembered
By the mask they wore years before their future.
And the horse falls in the smoke filled riot
The center of a child grows a new disguise.

Where are the songs from the sane minds?
And where are words from the sound mouths?
I can’t understand how they silence the voices that say no.

It’s a new day, in the old life.
He looks healthy with a tan on the white sheet
Across the table, where the blood dries
Where infinity will greet these earthly confines.

Where are the songs from the sane minds?
And where are words from the sound mouths?
I can’t understand how they silence the voices.

That say no
That say no

It’s a new day, in the old life
In the silence of the absence.

Where are the songs from the sane minds?
And where are words from the sound mouths?
I can’t understand how they silence the voices.

That say no

I can’t understand how they silence the voices.

——————————————————————

This next song is one of those rare songs that make me angry-happy. Just an amazing anthem to the frustrations of banging your head against the wall of being alive.

The Day I Tried To Live by Soundgarden (from Superunknown)

I woke the same as any other day
Except a voice was in my head
It said, “Seize the day, pull the trigger,
Drop the blade
And watch the rolling heads.”

The day I tried to win
I dangled from the power lines
And let the martyrs stretch.

The day I tried to live
I stole a thousand beggar’s change
And gave it to the rich.

Singing one more time around
(Might do it)
One more time around
(Might make it)
One more time around
(Might do it)
One more time around
The day I tried to live

The words you say never seem
To live up to the ones
Inside your head.
The lives we make
Never seem to ever get us anywhere
But dead.

The day I tried to live
I wallowed in the blood and mud with
All the other pigs.

One more time around
(Might do it)
One more time around
(Might make it)
One more time around
(Might do it)
One more time around
The day I tried to live

I woke the same as any other day you know
I should have stayed in bed

The day I tried to win
I wallowed in the blood and mud with
All the other pigs.

And I learned that I was a liar

I learned that I was a liar

I learned that I was a liar

I learned that I was alive.

Singing one more time around
(Might do it)
One more time around
(Might make it)
One more time around
(Might do it)
One more time around
On the day I tried to live

Just like you.

(singing one more time around)

– Mel

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One thought on “Songs That Define Me: Chris Cornell

  1. Reblogged this on Mel Rook & The 7 Deadly Sins and commented:

    Devastated. Heartbroken. But not surprised. Amazing songwriter. Amazing artist. All of these five songs, that I posted a year and a half ago, are amazing. But each and every one of them echoes the angst of a man not enamored with staying alive. I love you Chris. I will always love you.

    Like

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