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“Dolby’s 12 Days of Soundgarden: Day 4 (What Would Be the Best Songs to Play at Chris Cornell’s Wake?)”

If you’ve seen the 1996 grunge documentary Hype! and you’re not some obsessive, you probably think that the vocalist playing during the footage of Kurt Cobain’s wake is actually Kurt Cobain. So da**, my astonishment, at least when I found out that it’s actually Screaming Trees’ vocalist Mark Lanegan. It’s almost as if the absolutely perfect contributor were placed there by some divine hand, for the purpose of depicting the gathering at the ceremony for Cobain.
And it’s sad to think: but the possibility looms in my mind that Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell will get lesser treatment upon his death than Kurt Cobain; or even worse, the event of Cornell’s wake and celebration of life lived will actually be categorized differently from how Cobain’s was, even on a cultural, categorical level. One reason for this lingering suspicion of mine, tragically, is the litany of major musician deaths we’ve seen in the last year and a half. Let me just try to count ‘em off the top of my head, which I doubt I’ll be able to do: (David Bowie, Scott Weiland, Lemmy, Prince, Chuck Berry, Chris Cornell…) I’m probably forgetting three or four: but as we know, the rise in the supply of something sends the individual value down — a basic law of economics. When Kurt Cobain died it was more of a special occasion — at that point it hadn’t become a dominant trend for “alternative rockers” who per the only explanation I can fashion have trouble assimilating into mass culture, being marked by extreme sensitivity combined with perhaps a slight aversion to living through adversity, being rich stars, and everything.
Oh, and I guess there’s also the fact that they all did heroin. I suppose we shouldn’t overlook that.
Well, I just hope Chris Cornell’s wake isn’t a total travesty, and that the music they choose aptly commemorates his life and potentiates the occasion.
So the question is: can somebody’s own music rightly encapsulate his or her life, upon said life’s culmination? Remember, it’s ACTUALLY NOT Kurt Cobain singing, amazingly, in Mark Lanegan’s “The River Rise.” It’s maybe, if only so slightly, more LANGUID than any Nirvana song, even probably “Something in the Way.” In a way, it’s the perfect ballad — the product of such a crushing, unrelenting sadness, for its forging of that slow chord progression and dynamic with no drums all the while conveying incredible feeling from the singer, that it’s hard to even imagine.
It’s funny how moods can change: but one thing’s for sure, it’s been unseasonably cloudy here in Indiana the last couple days and boy does it feel appropriate. But anyway, this one day at work I spent half the morning contemplating the incredible beauty of Led Zeppelin’s “That’s the Way,” only to later that day get I think “Fool in the Rain” in my head (which belied by the titles is by far the perkier of the two numbers), and dwell upon how depressing the other song seemed.
Well, we’d want an American to soundtrack Cornell’s funeral, but I say this to illustrate a point: that we should not just quantify and stockpile all this Cornell fanfare without regard for the tinge of said material. Not just any Soundgarden song would be appropriate for playing at the singer’s wake, and what’s more, it’s arguable whether anything by Cornell would, on a methodological level.
“Like a Stone” by Audioslave would be one possibility that jumps into my mind, probably gracing a lot of Cornell-related commemorations I’m not aware of. I always liked the last song on Down on the Upside, “Boot Camp.” This is another potential winner. “Applebite.” Do we do “The Day I Tried to Live,” or would that just pi** off the conservative old ladies there who want to spin the occasion into a “positive”? Well, I personally am not gonna lie: I’d wanna hear “The Day I Tried to Live,” if only because it depicts Cornell at his best, portraying his life with brutal honesty, forging the paths for the rest of us to be able to laugh at ourselves and still truly, narcissistically indulge.
But nevertheless, the nagging thought looms in the back of my head that it would be TOO CLOSE, too personal, hearing Cornell at his own funeral, something like eating one’s own hand and calling it nourishment, perhaps. What about Alice in Chains’ “Don’t Follow”? YYYYYYeeeaaaahhhhhhhh. Now we’re talking. Pearl Jam’s “Off He Goes”? YYYYYYYYYeeeeeeeeeaaaahhhhhh. Now we’re talkin’. Nirvana’s “Something in the Way”? YYYYYYYYYYYeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. Were these songs made for this exact occasion? Well, that’s a troubling thought. But if they ever validly functioned with artistic efficacy, they sure better step up to the plate now.

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