My Sunday Song – “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden

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.

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My Sunday Song – “Like a Stone” by Audioslave

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!

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My Sunday Song – “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” by Chris Cornell

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.

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My Sunday Song – “Sweet Euphoria” by Chris Cornell

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.

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My Sunday Song – “Show Me How to Live” by Audioslave

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.

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My Sunday Song – “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog

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!

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My Sunday Song – “Loud Love” – Soundgarden

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.

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My Sunday Song – “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell

For My Sunday Song #333, we are going to discuss a James Bond Theme song. This one is “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell. It holds the distinction of being the only Bond theme song not to be included on the soundtrack. And we have Chris to thank for that as he wanted the song to be his and as a result it appears on his 2007 album ‘Carry On’. The song was written by Chris and David Arnold who was the composer of the Bond music for the film ‘Casino Royale’. The song was leaked early, but did get an official release on November 13, 2006 and did really well in the U.S. where it made the Hot 100 landing at #79 and sold 290,000 copies. In the U.K. it faired better at #7 on the UK Singles Chart and reaching Silver status selling over 200,000 copies.

The song doesn’t mention the movie title and instead is about the person not the movie and thus they came up with “You Know My Name” because after 40+ years of Bond, you know his name. It is about the conflicted side of Bond and not that overly confident super spy. It is about his sacrifices and struggles he battles with internally with being the spy. When he kills, the impact it has on him internally. The fact that everyone ends up betraying him, the impact that has on him. All giving us a different look at Bond which is how Daniel Craig’s Bond has done in his stint as the infamous character.

Chris approached the song two-fold. First, he was inspired by Tom Jones and wanted to sing the song in an almost Crooner style. Second, he loved the intensity of Paul McCartney’s “Live & Let Die” Bond Theme song so he and David made sure to include some heavier rock elements along with the heavy orchestration we get with Bond themes. It is a great combination of styles. I have to say, I think Chris did a great job as I did love his approach with the singing and there are hints of Mr. Jones. There is no mistaking the Bond musical elements as every Bond theme. It is a great Bond Theme!

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My Sunday Song – “Cochise” by Audioslave

For My Sunday Song #332, we are going to discuss the song “Cochise” by Audioslave which includes lead singer Chris Cornell and the reason we are here. The song was the band’s first single off their debut album from 2002. The band consists of Chris Cornell and the musical styles of the band Rage Against the Machine including Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. Since Rage broke up, they band stayed together and brought in Chris to form a new band. The song went to #2 on the US Mainstream Rock Chart and #2 in the UK on their Rock & Metal Chart where it sold over 200,000 copies.

The song titles is “Cochise” and what the heck is a “Cochise”? Well, I’ll tell you. Cochise was an Apache Indian Chief and he was a badass. He was brutal, yet fearless and resolute. He didn’t let anything stop him and was full of rate and fury which is what Tom felt the music was that way and thus the name of the single. However, “Cochise” doesn’t appear anywhere in the song and is not about him in any way.

The song is about people that waste their life away doing nothing. They need to look in the mirror, wake up and get moving with their life. Chris had mentioned that the song was inspired by himself looking in the mirror and thinking that same thing. I look at it like Chris is out there rocking the world, having so many great adventures while that guy in the mirror is doing drugs, drinking or whatever else to destroy his life. It is like there are two people and if he doesn’t wake up and get both lives in order, the end won’t end well. And we know how that sadly ended.

The song has this tribal drum beat feel, while Tom is doing crazy things on his guitar and Tim on his bass. After about 50 seconds of this growing intensity, that wicked Morello riff comes crashing in. And what a riff it is. Chris sounds great, attacking the lyrics with that same intensity. Plus that scream towards the end is perfection. Tom’s playing throughout is worth the price of admission alone. A great, heavy ass track that let us know Audioslave was for real!!

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My Sunday Song – “Burden in My Hand” by Soundgarden

Happy New Year and let us kick it off with a new 10 song set of My Sunday Songs. And with #331, we are kicking off with the first of 10 songs that will feature Chris Cornell, First up is the Soundgarden song “Burden in My Hand” off their 1996 album ‘Down on the Upside’. It was written by Chris and was released as the second single September 18, 1996. It did really well spending five weeks at #1 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart.

The song is rather dark as it is about a guy that loses it and kills his wife. He admits it in the song. He is out in the desert where he buried her and his trying to deal with the grief and the guilt and coming to grips with what has happened. The lines “It’s just a burden in my hand / It’s just an anchor on my heart” reflects the guilt he is feeling. Kim Thayil of the band has called the song a modern “Hey Joe”. I can see that. Now, the song doesn’t say what happens to him or if he ever deals with his grief, but he is sitting there drowning his sorrows with alcohol and hopefully he drinks himself to death for what he has done

I love how the song starts out with Chris’ vocal going directly in to the first verse. The guitar comes in and it plays the song in C tuning (I read that on wiki as otherwise I’d have no idea). That opening verse with just the guitar, his voice and then the bass is perfect. The drums not coming in to until the bridge really adds a punch to the bridge. Then the full band is in for the second verse. I love the dark tone coming from the music as it matches the darkness and gloom of the situation. Chris vocals aren’t judgmental to the character, it is almost indifferent to what he has done, yet you feel a little empathy through his vocals. It is really interesting approach and it works.

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