LATEST UPDATE 5/26 - Soundgarden - Halfway There
GUITAR: Sunfire Cobra
“Halfway There” is a matter-of-fact take on class stagnation: “Something to eat?/I would say you’re doing better than most, though maybe not as well as some,” Cornell observes.
Chris wrote this song while working on the movie Singles. In the film, Matt Dillon's character, Cliff Poncier, peddles his tape of solo songs. The fictitious tracklist was devised by Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam, who was also working on the film. Cornell recorded songs with those titles on a 4-track tape machine, which is what Cliff Poncier would have used. One of those songs is "Flutter Girl," which Cornell turned into a heartaching song about a delicate girl he is setting free, as she is better off without him.
On "Moonchild," Cornell affectionately describes how his wife (and former Soundgarden manager), Susan Silver, "gets really freaked out during the full moon." Cornell and Silver were married from 1990-2004.
GUITAR: Sunfire Cobra
The dreams of worldly success referred to here is transformed into a nightmare in “Worse Dreams”, which describes the soul desperately clinging to hold on and survive in the midst of all things swirling and falling apart. “Everybody in/Sit down and keep on holding on”, Cornell exhorts, as he notes how the “black clouds drown” and the “rain is walking”.
"Nothing's gonna put me out/ It's backing down and under/ I'm down on the upside now." The de facto title track to Soundgarden's final LP in their first incarnation was a good example of that album at its most compelling -- knotty, mysterious folk-prog that returned grunge from its rainiest days much closer to its arid, Neil Young roots. Dust never sleeps.
There's a slow grind among the sludgy sounds of "Mailman," which features music by Matt Cameron. But Cornell sings as if the lyrics are an incantation, oscillating between a breathy tenor and measured high notes; "All your kisses / turned to spit in my face." Cameron mans a mellotron that bends the space-time continuum of the song, and Cornell reaches up so high on the chorus ("I know I'm headed for the bottom / but I'm riding you all the way!") the sound distorts around him. "When Chris sings high, he tends to sing harder and louder than just about anything on this earth," producer Michael Beinhorn told Billboard in 1994. "He literally blew through a bunch of condenser mikes. I've never seen anyone do that."
Soundgarden’s famous odd time signatures evolve further on standout “By Crooked Steps.” Cornell soars above jackhammering guitar parts and straight-ahead drumming, a mismatch that somehow sounds natural while claiming new ground for the band.
On "Flower" Cornell’s devilish delivery – guttural yet knowing, extending vowels like they’re made of Play-Doh – is a complement to his withering lyrics, which tell the tale of a young woman whose fast-living lifestyle results in dying young.
Power Trip shows that Soundgarden were undeniably a Led Zeppelin influenced band, with bluesy guitars, emotional, 70s like vocals from Cornell, and interesting, poetic lyrics.
Cornell’s moving, understated solo contribution to the Singles soundtrack grew out of a piece of fiction: a solo cassette made by Matt Dillon’s Cliff Poncier after parting with his band, Citizen Dick. Cornell took it upon himself to actually write songs for the tape, one of which was this reflective folk ballad. “Holy shit, this is Chris Cornell, as Cliff Poncier, recording all of these songs, with lyrics, and total creative vision, and he has recorded the entire fake, solo cassette,” director Cameron Crowe recalled of first hearing the EP that would come to be known simply as Poncier. “And it’s fantastic. And ‘Seasons’ comes on. And you just can’t help but go, ‘Wow.’ This is a guy who we’ve only known in Soundgarden. And of course he’s incredibly creative, but who’s heard him like this?”
New Jersey based rock trio Pseutopia released a brilliant cover of Seasons last year featuring former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese. According to the members: We were deeply affected by Chris's untimely death. As one of our strongest influences we felt almost compelled to pay our respects and tribute to him. “Seasons” is one of his masterpieces and one of our favorites. We really hope we were were able to do justice to this great song and the genius of Chris Cornell. We sent Dave the demo of “Seasons” that we had done. He was really impressed with our version and was on board to play on the track. Dave is a true inspiration and joy to work with. He is one of our heroes and for him to play on our tribute to Chris is just surreal.
By far the heaviest song on the album, "Mission" is a song that is fitting only for a badass. Chris Cornell belts out some outrageous screams all while heavy guitar erupts around him. The mercilessly mocking lyrics fit the music like red wine fits a steak dinner. Only, this steak is bloody. Cornell rips this song apart with his voice. Mission is a great time that likely killed this man’s vocal chords.
"Pillow of Your Bones'" lyrics are poetic, the acoustics are deep, the bass is wild, and the guitar is robust. I especially love the calming, almost trance-like chorus. It's flavored with some more subtle Middle Eastern melodies, giving it an overall mysterious vibe.
GUITAR: Sunfire Cobra
"Blood On The Valley Floor" is cleverly reminiscent of Black Sabbath and features a bone crushing main riff. The song presents a desperate scene of genocide and senseless violence: “And the blood dries/while we spill/some more”. Specifics are, of course, not to be found. Is it a physical event, an inner violence, or a metaphor for a society or culture as a whole? My continuing impression is of hell itself, with the damned tumbling down to where “the smoke lies on the valley floor”.
CHICAGO (THE CHICAGO CHRONICLES)
Chicago Transit Authority (1969)
Chicago II (1970)
Chicago III (1971)
Chicago IV (1971)
Chicago V (1972) Chicago VI (1973) Chicago VII (1974) Chicago VIII (1975) Chicago X (1976) Chicago XI (1977) Hot Streets (1978) Chicago 13 (1979) Chicago 14 (1980) Chicago 16 (1982) Chicago 17 (1984) Chicago 18 (1986) Chicago 19 (1988)
Chicago V (1972)
Chicago VI (1973) Chicago VII (1974) Chicago VIII (1975) Chicago X (1976) Chicago XI (1977) Hot Streets (1978) Chicago 13 (1979) Chicago 14 (1980) Chicago 16 (1982) Chicago 17 (1984) Chicago 18 (1986) Chicago 19 (1988)
Chicago VII (1974)
Chicago VIII (1975)
Chicago X (1976)
Chicago XI (1977)
Hot Streets (1978)
Chicago 13 (1979)
Chicago 14 (1980)
Chicago 16 (1982)
Chicago 17 (1984) Chicago 18 (1986) Chicago 19 (1988)
Chicago 18 (1986)
Chicago 19 (1988)