On May 18th of 2017 singer and songwriter Chris Cornell took his own life. Cornell was the lead singer of Soundgarden, and one of the most influential musicians on modern rock history. Along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, Soundgarden led the wave of the 1990s grunge music scene. Without Cornell’s writing and voice, hundreds of bands and thousands of popular songs would not exist.
The first time I remember hearing Cornell was from the Black Hole Sun music video. I had never heard anything like it before, and I was fascinated his voice. Cornell’s vocal abilities are impressive. He was one of few people who can scream sing and still be intelligible. You can feel the power of his voice even with the volume turned down.
Rather than comment on his suicide, I would like to focus on his music. There are so many good songs and albums to pick from. He fronted Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, and released five solo albums. I think, however, I will go with my favorite, Temple of the Dog by Temple of the Dog.
It is rare to find an album where every song is good. This is one of those albums, and why would it not be? It is Chris Cornell singing with Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, and Matt Cameron, i.e. the group that would become Pearl Jam.
The album resulted from Cornell writing two songs in tribute to his roommate Andrew Wood, lead singer of Mother Love Bone. Wood overdosed on heroin. Cornell had no one to talk to following Wood’s death, and wrote the songs Reach Down and Say Hello 2 Heaven to cope with his feelings. He later presented them to Ament and Gossard, who were members of Mother Love Bone. The rest of the album came together after that.
Because there is not a bad song on the album, it makes it difficult to choose what to highlight. However, I think I will go for the songs I like to listen to the most. Continue reading