May 18, 2017

In dreams until my death, I will wander on. Rest in peace, Chris Cornell

The words you say, never live up to the ones inside your head.  The lives we make, never seem to get us anywhere but dead.


 
Within a half hour of reading of Chris Cornell's death, the lyrics started flooding my head. All those lines that touched me through the years, from my late 20s when Badmotorfinger was released and I discovered Soundgarden, all the way through my 30s and Euphoria Morning and the end of the one lasting relationship I've had, into my 40s and Audioslave, and then Chris's music changed with his second solo album and I couldn't relate anymore and I discovered Jack White. But even though the new music he was making had changed, the old music was still there.  There was no way any of those old Soundgarden albums or Euphoria Morning or the first Audioslave album could be put aside entirely.  They had meant too much and still did. Still do. Chris's imagery and metaphors could be obscure, but then he'd cut through the obscurity with a line as sharply meaningful as a razor. Or a diamond.  

Dreaming only of the ones who never dream of you... never dream of you.


 
Prince's death last year was a horrible shock, but this is worse.  I loved Prince's music, but I felt Chris's music.  I've written about a few of his songs in the past-- Like Suicide and I Am The Highway, especially, moved me to words.  

Sitting here like uninvited company, wallowing in my own obscenities...

 

I've experienced depression and self-hate and Soundgarden was the first band I discovered that reflected what I felt.  It was always so obvious that Chris had also been there and understood and was able to express those feelings in a poetic way that buoyed me up rather than bringing me down. Fell On Black Days was like an anthem for me for years.



There are so, so many others. I could make this post an hour-long read/listen if I, and you, had the time.  But I'll leave it brief.  We've all got our own favorites, our own personal lines and words that touched us and left a mark, helped to define us or to uplift us.  So I felt it was important to take the time to remember just a few of my own, the ones that most immediately came to mind. More will continue to come over the next few days and I'll wish I had included them here.  But I have to go to work. As the title of Chris's second solo album states, we all have to carry on.

On reading of his death this morning, Like a Stone was one of the first that rushed into my head and it's the one that I'm going to end with.  I once read an Audioslave interview in which the other guys in the band talked about how this song came together. They described how Chris just sat in a chair with his eyes closed while they played the music for him and they thought he had checked out, that he wasn't paying any attention. Then he opened his mouth and began to sing the words that'd come to him while he was sitting there with closed eyes.  I hope he's in that house now.




On a cobweb afternoon 
In a room full of emptiness 
By a freeway I confess 
I was lost in the pages 
Of a book full of death 
Reading how we'll die alone 
And if we're good, we'll lay to rest 
Anywhere we want to go 

In your house I long to be 
Room by room patiently 
I'll wait for you there 
Like a stone 
I'll wait for you there 
Alone 

On my deathbed I will pray 
To the gods and the angels 
Like a pagan to anyone 
Who will take me to heaven 
To a place I recall 
I was there so long ago 
The sky was bruised 
The wine was bled 
And there you led me on 

In your house I long to be 
Room by room patiently 
I'll wait for you there 
Like a stone I'll wait for you there 
Alone 
Alone 

And on I read 
Until the day was gone 
And I sat in regret 
Of all the things I've done 
For all that I've blessed 
And all that I've wronged 
In dreams until my death 
I will wander on 

In your house I long to be 
Room by room patiently 
I'll wait for you there 
Like a stone 
I'll wait for you there 
Alone 
Alone 




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