The first time my brain broke was in the summer of 1994.
My cousin had just gotten his hands on a new album called Superunknown by a band we had never heard of called Soundgarden.
Up until that moment, my musical tastes sucked. I was living on a diet of M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice because I knew all of the lyrics to the songs and they were popular. I had no idea there existed this completely separate universe of music that was, quite frankly, fucking awesome.
When I heard the first chords to Let Me Drown emanate from a Sony CD player in Steve’s backyard, my entire worldview changed.
My eyes were opened to new possibilities. My ears embraced the sound and the fury.
I experienced, for lack of a better term, a musical nirvana.
From that day forward, I devoured anything I could get my hands on that could be traced back to the Soundgarden family tree.
It seemed like every day came with its own musical awakening. I liken it to falling in love with a book and realizing the author wrote 35 other books that are just as good, if not better, leaving you with a lifetime of works to discover and enjoy.
As the years went by, and I struggled with the usual things that most adolescent boys struggle with, I always found peace when I listened to that album. It reminded me that, no matter how bad things seemed, there was always a possibility you would uncover something amazing that would renew your spirit and give you focus.
All of us (I hope) own the records and remember the music that transports us back to days when everything seemed new and possible.
For me, that album is Superunknown.
I never got to see them perform in concert, nor did I go out of my way to listen to Chris Cornell’s solo stuff. But I always had that first album; the “gateway drug” to the music that truly defined me later on in life.
Bob Marley once said about music: When it hits you, you feel no pain.
I don’t think there is a better way to put it. I hope Mr. Cornell has been freed from his.
RIP Chris Cornell