Chris Cornell died today, and I didn’t know what to write. Why did it hit me so hard? His was one of the voices to break free of the synth-laden 80s music that still haunts me. His music reintroduced me to appreciation of lyrical loudness. His scream was an amazing addition to the instrumental ensemble that was Soundgarden.
Music influences everyone’s life, even the deaf. It reinforces and recalls memories as that certain song replays life’s certain events. It may be the lyrics hitting you as if spoken in your ear at that right moment.
It may be a beat or riff that sets your heart a flutter, or squeezes from you a long sigh. It could tap your foot, or have you doing a full-out body slam. It can make you yearn for a dark quiet room and a candle.
Seen live, it’s an arena of fans united in celebration of this common link, all singing out songs that are a part of each life’s soundtrack.
I have two eras of music, being pre-90s and then the Grunge movement that followed. Prior to this era, my musical influences stemmed from what the radio and rock video channels provided. The synthesizer ruined my childhood, as 80s bands embraced it while shunning the guitar. I spent that time with rock from the 60s and 70s, and some hair bands like Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, and Poison. Then came Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden, setting the foundation for all that followed.
I was wandering A&B Sound in downtown Vancouver when I first that initial riff in “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Everything changed. Living in dorms with many like-minded of the same age helped reinforced this love of Grunge. I immediately bought the album, returned to my dorm room and promptly fell asleep to Nevermind blasting on my speakers.
We lost Kurt Cobain back in 1994. That death stung even though we only knew him for a few years. With Chris though, he’s been with us for much longer. Took us through his Soundgarden and his Temple of the Dog before becoming our Audioslave. Through his groups or his solo stuff, from primal screams to aural caresses, Chris’s place in my life’s soundtrack shall always be irreplaceable.
Thank you, Chris. It saddens me that you couldn’t hold on. May your talents remain influential through multiple generations. May your soul be rocking with the others, and ever be at peace.