For My Sunday Song #353, we are going to discuss the ballad “Always Be Mine” off Aldo Nova’s second album ‘Subject…Aldo Nova’…but I just call it ‘Subject’. The album was released on September 30, 1983 and was a very loose concept with a whole apocalyptic vision of the world. This was the 2nd single off the album but didn’t even make the Hot 100 in the U.S. which it should as this is one of the great ballads of the decade in my book. The album didn’t get a ton of press but it did eventually go Gold about 11 years after it’s release.
The song is about a breakup. A very hard break up of two people that still love each other, but they’ve played so many games, shed so many tears that it probably should be over. The guy in the song still loves her and in his heart, she’ll always be his. He is pleading with her to give it another shot, to stop the games, stop wearing the masks and just talk heart to heart and work things out. It is a little heartbreaking at times.
Musically, the song is beautifully done with Aldo on keyboards, guitars and vocals. Aldo likes to do a lot of the stuff himself. It starts off with an electronic drum beat that is followed by the keyboards…a lot of keyboards. But there is a tenderness to it all and the music has such great melody and the guitar playing…man Aldo can certainly play guitar. He is highly underrated. Aldo’s vocals pull at the heartstrings as he conveys all the love and pain the guy is feeling as he tries to win his girl back. The song sounds like the 80’s, but you know, it still works for me and is still as powerful today as it was when I first heard it back in 1983…40 years ago…damn…I’m getting old.
For My Sunday Song #352, we get the song “The Border” from his most recent release ‘Short Stories E.P.’ back in 2022. The E.P. is only 3 songs that tell stories that make you feel like you are in the movies or at least that was his goal. The opening track, like all the tracks, was solely written by Aldo and he performed all the instruments as well which is impressive when you hear it.
The lyrics paint a picture of two outlaws on steel horses with a guitar strapped to their backs. They appear to be on the run from the law as the speed down the road to get to the Rio Grande and escape to Mexico. There is a woman waiting on the other side of the Border and he can’t wait to sing her a song. I wonder if there is a deeper meaning behind the song. Sadly, Aldo lost his wife a few years back and I wonder if what he is being chased by is death and when he crosses over (the border), he will be with her again and can sing her the song he so wants for her to hear again. When looking at it with that frame of mine, it is a sad and beautiful track.
Musically, there is a whole Latin flavor with hints of Carlos Santana in the guitar tone. It is pretty fantastic sounding. Aldo’s vocals fit perfectly nestled in to the song and you can’t help but want to get up and move to those rhythmic beats as the bass and drums really settle in to a nice groove that causes the hips to sway back and forth. The guitar playing is top notch as Aldo wails away on the solo. This song quickly became a favorite of mine from him.
For My Sunday Song #351, we are starting a 10 song set of songs by Aldo Nova. You know him from the early 80’s with his massive hit “Fantasy”. But he is way more than that song and we will walk through a bunch for you over the next 10 weeks (including “Fantasy” because why not). First up is the song “Modern World” off his 1991 album ‘Blood on the Bricks’. The song was written by Aldo and his pal Jon Bon Jovi. You might not know that Aldo worked with Jon on a bunch of demos back way before there was a Bon Jovi and was John Bongiovi. But that is another story for another day.
The song is a dark commentary on the world that was the late 80’s and early 90’s. The sleaze, the drugs, the crime were all up and the world seemed to be a dark place and they lyrics captured it beautifully. He even takes a big dig at Donald Trump for his womanizing and awful business tactics long before he was President. Marion Barry, mayor of Washington D.C. also wasn’t safe from his wrath as he bashed him for his drug addictions. No one was safe in this song. It is a really dark take on the world and we are happier for it as we got this song.
Musically, the song is as dark as the lyrics. The song opens with a nasty, dirty guitar riff and an angry sadistic sounding drum beat. Aldo sings it with a lot of attitude and anger to match the despair in the music. But like any song Jon is involved in, it has the hooks to draw you in as that chorus filled with harmonies and great background singers adding more effect to the song. It is a solid rocker and shows that Aldo was more than keyboards and that sometimes the guitar riff was king.
For the last My Sunday Song #350 for the Chris Cornell 10 song set is “Black Hole Sun” by his band Soundgarden. The song is off their 1994 album Superunknown and went to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Chart in the U.S. The song has so many accolades including one of the Top 500 Songs of all time landing at #368. It didn’t go Gold in the U.S., but did in the UK, Australia and Italy. It is one of their most recognizable and amazing songs and was written by Chris Cornell.
The song was written by Chris mostly on a drive from the studio in Woodinville to Seattle which was about a 34-40 minute drive. Once he got home, he whistled it in to a dictaphone. The next more he got and wallah, a new song. The song was inspired by a story on the news, Chris doesn’t remember the story itself just the words Black Hole Sun which he thought would be a great title to the song. When he wrote the lyrics in about 15 minutes, there was no meaning, per se, behind them, basically it was him putting words together that painted this dark picture. From reading the lyrics, it sort of looks like a song about disillusionment and how the world has grown so dark and mean that no more honest men exist as everyone is eventually turned to the dark side.
Musically, the song is just as dark sounding at times with a grunge sound, but also a little psychedelic with a slight Beatles vibe to it. The chorus feels a little upbeat and a little sunnier, but when that chorus comes in it feels like a menacing dark sludge. Kim Thayil’s guitar tone on this is perfect for the song as it has some really cool moments with that solo lying under the grungy riff really plays nicely off each other. Cornell’s vocals on the chorus seem monotonous at times as they are trudging through the sludge of the music. His backing vocals are higher pitched and really give the song something a little extra. I was immediately engrossed in this song the first time I heard as there is so much going on. It is simply wonderful.
For My Sunday Song #339, we are going to discuss the song “Like a Stone” by Audioslave. The song is another off this debut self-titled 2002 album. The song was written by the everyone including Chris Cornell, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk and Tom Morello (well, at least they all got credit for it). The song was the second single off the album and went to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Charts and made the Top 40 going to #31. Those chart positions helped it go Gold selling over 500,000 copies! The music video for this song has over 1 Billion Views!! That is crazy.
The song is about pondering the afterlife. How you can work so hard and be a good person and yet still go to hell anyway. Despite how well you treated others, how good you tried to be, it still wasn’t enough to save you. Because we all know what it takes to be saved, don’t we. It’s lyrics are so so sad and full of regret and really makes you wonder what was really going through Cornell’s mind when he wrote those lyrics. It was a dark place for sure.
The music matched that sadness as the guitar parts from Tom Morello had a tone that was so full of melancholy and at times it sounded like it was crying heartbreaking tears during that wicked guitar solo. That drum beat by Brad Wilk with Tim Commerford’s bass kept a groove that was as morose as it comes. All together it was as close to perfection as you can get with music matching the lyrics and vocal tone. Hauntingly beautiful I must say!
For My Sunday Song #348, we are going deep in to “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” by Chris Cornell. The song was written by Chris and is off his 2015 album ‘Higher Truth’. The song was the only single off the album and went to #7 US Rock Airplay Billboard Chart and #1 in Canada on their Rock Chart.
Chris has spoken on this one where he came up with the title and it immediately made him think what the song was going to be about. It is about when you find someone or maybe even something new in your life that you forget about everything else including the fact you had given up on life and that your heart was broken. It is actually a tremendously sad thing if you think about it. But when we are so broken, maybe something new in our life is really what we needed in the first place. However, this person he is talking about seems to bring him a lot of misery as it sounds so tumultuous in nature. The time spent dealing with this person and the awfulness they bring to him has consumed he forgets that the relationship is breaking his heart more than it already was.
The song starts off with a mandolin it the sounds is so full of melancholy. When Chris comes in with the first verse you can hear a sadness to the voice. Musically, there is a lot going on there and so many bits of beauty in it as well. By the second verse, the tempo picks up and it feels like a happier song despite the sorrow in those lyrics. I like that dichotomy.
For My Sunday Song #337, we are going to explore the song “Sweet Euphoria” by Chris Cornell. The song was off his debut solo album ‘Euphoria Morning’ from 1999 and wasn’t a single but probably should’ve been as it is one of my favorites from that album. The album did really well going to #18 on the Billboard 200 list.
The song was written by Chris Cornell and the meaning can be different to every listener but to me it is about his struggles with depression or even bipolar disorder. Apparently, euphoria is a symptom of bipolar disorder in a roundabout way. You have the depression side, but there is also the mania side that can make you be full of energy, full of great ideas that might seem like it euphoria. That up and down feeling can be exhausting and so hard to handle and he battled with it and hid it well most of the time. The song feels like his confession and an opening up of his problems.
Musically, it is just Chris with his voice, armed with his lyrics and an acoustic guitar. The song feels like pain, like sorrow, like sadness and at the end when he screams “save my love’ it almost devastatingly heartbreaking. There is nothing else to it and yet, it is more than enough to convey his feelings and for something so sad, it is also so hauntingly beautiful. This might be the most powerful song he’s ever written.
For My Sunday Song #336, we are going to examine the song “Show Me How To Live” by Audioslave. The song is off their 2002 debut, self-titled album. The song went to #2 on the Mainstream Rock Chart and actually made the Billboard Hot 100 landing at #67. The song is credited to Brad Wilk, Chris Cornell, Tim Commerford and Tom Morello.
The song has a ton of religious references and I think it deals with the struggles the singer is going through. God created him, but now he doesn’t know how to live and is full of guilt and wants his creator to show him how to live. The lines about him not sleeping and needing a priest to help him leads me to thing there is a lot of guilt that he needs to confess. With the lines “nail in my head/from my creator” makes me believes he feels he is being crucified. It is a really dark song and there is a lot of pain there that needs to be eased.
The song itself is pretty damn heavy with some killer riffs by Tom Morello and a solo that sounds so insane. He accomplishes those sounds by using a phasing, fluttering effect which he achieves by using a combination of tremolo picking the high E-string, using his trademark Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal and a ring modulator effect (thanks wiki for that info). And listen to the bass and the drums on this one as well. So powerful and so freakin’ dirty and groovy. Cornell’s vocals are freaking sick and you can feel the pain from those lyrics. At the very end of the song he has a cool effect on his voice that he gets by taking his hand and hitting his throat which changes the pitch. No tech for him, just good old fashion self harm.
For My Sunday Song #335, we are tackling “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog. The song was off their debut and only album, 1991’s Temple of the Dog. It was the first single and reached #4 on the US Mainstream Rock Chart. A song that was written by Chris Cornell and he thought it was only filler for the album and suddenly became their biggest hit. We could write a whole story on the band, but we will stick with just the song.
The band was Chris Cornell, Jeff Ament, Steve Gossard, Mike McCready and Matt Cameron. They got together to honor their friend Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone who died a year earlier. Chris pulled this song out and Mike McCready thought it was a beautiful song. The song is about the inequalities amongst people. How some people get everything they want and it is handed to them on a silver platter while others scrap by, barely able to make ends meet or can’t make ends meet. He feels that the rich are stealing from the others that don’t have. He understands he is in that position where he can do something and wants to do a hunger strike until everyone has equality. He will become Robin Hood and steal that bread from the rich to help the poor. It is a great sentiment, but one that sadly has never been fixed as it is even more of a problem today.
Eddie Vedder joins Chris on vocals but that wasn’t the plan. Eddie was in the studio helping with backing vocals when he saw Chris struggling on the really low notes and with balls of steel, got up out of his chair went up to the mic and started singing. Chris thought it was gutsy and brilliant because it worked on so many levels are their voices play so well off each other and for me is the highlight of the song. I also love the guitar parts as there is this particular twang around the choruses that sounds so cool. The drumming is great, the rhythm section is fantastic and this is one of my favorite songs of Chris’ and of the 90’s. Brilliant track!
For My Sunday Song #334, we are going to walk through the song “Loud Love” by Soundgarden. The song is off their 1989 album ‘Louder Than Love’. They hadn’t broke yet here in the states so the song didn’t chart although the album went to #108 on the US Billboard 200 album chart. Now, in the UK the song did chart and reached #87. Not great, but it charted. Fun fact, it is believed that this song was supposed to be on the Wayne’s World soundtrack as it is playing in the background when Wayne meets Casandra. Early listings of the songs had it on their, but it was left off.
The song was written by Chris Cornell. I am not sure what they intended the song to be about, but to me when I look at the lyrics it feels like it is about someone pushing another person to their limits to get them to fight back, to show some emotion and not sit there and take it. They are going to keep at them until the pop and the line “I’ll hammer you until you fight” is a perfect example of that thought. There aren’t a ton of lyrics so no real proof, but that is my gut.
Musically, that guitar piece at the beginning is insane. It is a “feedback melody” is how I’ve seen it described. It is Kim Thayil standing in front of an amp, hitting a note until he gets feedback and then running his fingers up and down the fret. It is almost like the note is breathing. Really cool and what draws me to the song. Chris Cornell really screams out the chorus and lets out a scream towards the end that is pretty killer. Lyrically, there is not a lot to the song, but musically it wraps around those lyrics and drags it out to almost 5 minutes of heavy and thunderous music that paints the scene with a dark brush that feels a little disturbing and I love it.