Kurt Cobain. Layne Staley. Scott Weiland. Chris Cornell. All lost from the same era and genre…
I love the era in which I grew up. Science, politics, entertainment, etc. etc. Many good things happened in the world around us. Music was huge to me. I like the fact that I came of age in the grunge era. The music and lyrics matched my teenage angst and need for something deeper and purer than hair metal. Thank you grunge. In many ways it was the beginning of a time of permissive doubt, and allowing feelings beyond good times only. GenX has always been good at that, setting the stage for more authentic and transparent relationships at all levels of life.
Jane’s Addiction may have come first, but Soundgarden always stood out of the pack with the ‘true’ grunge sound, whatever that means. Chris Cornell is well known for his powerful voice, great stage presence, and looking like a pretty cool dude. For me, and many others, it was his deep lyrics that caught me. Not just catchy, but meaningful at a heart level, and often dark. Some very dark. And they spoke to me, especially when my mind was not at ease.
Chris Cornell was one of those creative innovator types, changing the landscape, but not always at peace in the process. A reminder that it is easy to maintain quietly rather than to create and cause a stir. Many live with hidden pain and leave the world with unanswered questions. That is the way of mental illness, it causes us to isolate ourselves from those that want to walk closely with us. Most never know anything really troubled the person, only seeing small signs from time to time.
Chris Cornell’s writing alludes to an inner hidden struggle. Creative genius at work, but not translating into his full feeling of worth and acceptance in his world. Idealism can fuel the creative work, but it can also make us very lonely in isolation we create when the two elements combine. Reality is a difficult battleground for the mind.
A few songs and lyrics that stood out to me in the darkness and painted a picture of the soul in pain…
“Fell on black days”
Probably my favourite song by Soundgarden, and the lyrics still strike me deeply today. Dealing with pain, accepting the dark feelings,
“Whomsoever I’ve cured, I’ve sickened now
And 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”
“Black hole sun”
Tired, alone, wash the rain away.
“Burden in my Hand”
“Close your eyes and bow your head
I need a little sympathy
‘Cause fear is strong and love’s for everyone
Who isn’t me
So kill your health and kill yourself
And kill everything you love
And if you live you can fall to pieces
And suffer with my ghost
Just a burden in my hand
Just an anchor on my heart
Just a tumor in my head
And I’m in the dark”
Very cool melody, great to listen to, and the lyrics speak to the heart. Isolation and a dystopic view of the world around him, leads to a very lonely picture of life.
“Show me how to live”
“Nail in my hand,
from my Creator,
you gave me life,
now show me how to live”
This last one from his time with Audioslave says so much. It is a prayer that many of us speak in some way or another while on this earth, regardless of state of affairs.
How do I live? If I am made for life, then what does that life look like?
You do not live in isolation. Even if you feel alone. Regardless of your occupation and dent made on the corporate world. We were all designed to live in community, to know people and be known by them. We all need to fight to be shown how to live, and not allow dark days to be all that we know.
Now, here’s one of my more recent favourites, enjoy!