To mark what would’ve been the vocalist’s fifty-sixth birthday, here’s the countdown of some of his most under-appreciated songs.
Three years since his tragic passing, the legendary frontman’s memory lives on. Whilst remaining one of the most impressive vocalists of all time, much of Chris Cornell’s extensive discography still remains hidden from the limelight.
Despite his most famous hits, including Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’ and Casino Royale‘s ‘You Know My Name’, many fans are still not completely aware of the wide variety of music that the frontman had released.
Now, on what would’ve been Cornell’s fifty-sixth birthday, check out some of his most under-appreciated songs and become reacquainted with just how talented the frontman really was.
1. Applebite- Down On The Upside (1996)
Whilst first finding fame with Soundgarden back in 1988, there are still many songs by the band that fell under the radar- one of which being ‘Applebite’.
Appearing on the band’s 1996 album, Down On The Upside, ‘Applebite’ was a unique track that failed to gather any momentum. Incorporating the same distortion as bands such as Black Sabbath and Type O Negative, ‘Applebite’ showed Soundgarden venturing into new territory with ‘Applebite’ to produce a sound not yet captured.
A world apart from the force and aggression in songs such as ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ and ‘Outshined’, ‘Applebite’ instead chooses distortion and ambience that sends a chill down the spine.
Disjointed and haunting, this is the first time Soundgarden attempted this kind of sound, with Cornell’s eerie, incoherent vocals leaving listeners glancing over their shoulders until the song draws to its close.
2. Disappearing One- Euphoria Morning (1999)
Melancholic and stripped-back, ‘Disappearing One’ comes from Cornell’s first solo album, Euphoria Morning.
Released back in 1999, Euphoria Morning opted for a more beautiful, mainstream approach to his music than in his earlier work with Soundgarden- showing the musician to be much more diverse than some initially thought. Arguably the first time that the vocalist took a step back from his Grunge roots, ‘Disappearing One’ was the standout song of the album that, unfortunately, never quite amounted to the same successes as some of his other hits.
Showing the power of his vocals, ‘Disappearing One’ brings a heartfelt side into the debut album, stepping away from the hard-hitting sound of Soundgarden. Still able to show the power of his voice in a way that was accessible for a wider audience, the song remains one of the most touching songs by the vocalist.
3. Eyelid’s Mouth- King Animal (2012)
An album that unfortunately didn’t see quite the same level of success as other releases by Soundgarden, King Animal mostly fell upon deaf ears after its release in 2012.
Whilst many songs on the album were unjustly overlooked, none was more so than ‘Eyelid’s Mouth’. Although the song is now regarded as a deep-cut, knowingly receiving less attention than it deserved, ‘Eyelid’s Mouth’ is a staple song for any Soundgarden fan.
Showing the same force and powerful vocals as Superunknown, the band’s most successful album, the song proved that Soundgarden’s prime years were not yet over and they could still capture their iconic sound with complete ease.
4. Circling- Higher Truth (2015)
Similar to that of ‘Disappearing One’ as earlier mentioned, ‘Circling’ from Cornell’s final album, Higher Truth brings a heartfelt, almost-melancholic sound to the Grunge vocalist.
Toying with different layers and echoing vocals throughout the song, ‘Circling’ centres around the theme of isolation and losing one’s way in life- motifs that hit a little too close-to-home for devoted fans of the musician.
Keeping the same bareness and eased-back approach as in the majority of his solo work, ‘Circling’ maintains that rustic sound that allows Cornell’s vocals to shine through and appeal to all different audiences.
5. Right Turn- Sap (1992)
Not one of his own, ‘Right Turn’ is instead a song by Grunge band, Alice In Chains which Cornell featured on.
Part of their 1992 EP, Sap, Cornell featured on the song alongside Mudhoney frontman, Mark Arm. One of the more woeful, dissonant Alice In Chains songs, the song simply harmonises the vocalists for its majority until the song develops layers and builds up to its climax.
Appearing only subtly throughout the song, it isn’t until the final few seconds of the song that Cornell leaves his impact on the hit. The roaring vocals of the singer undoubtedly come to dominate the ambient song, stealing the spotlight and perfectly encompassing the magnitude of his vocal ability.
6. Four Walled World- Temple of The Dog (1991)
An album written in dedication to late pioneer of Grunge, Andrew Wood, Cornell joined forces with Pearl Jam to form Temple Of The Dog back in 1991. Despite only producing one album together, the release didn’t fail to leave a lasting impact on fans, showcasing some of Cornell’s best work.
Whilst the singles, ‘Say Hello 2 Heaven’ and ‘Hunger Strike’ did considerably well on the charts, most of the album went under the radar, most notably, ‘Four Walled World’.
One of the most bluesy songs for Cornell to be a part of, the song profoundly showcases his vocals, distinctive from the rest of his discography and similar to that of 1950’s blues vocalists.
7. Part Of Me- Scream (2009)
Quite unlike anything ever seen by Cornell before, ‘Part of Me’ brought the musician from the niche genre of Grunge, straight into the mainstream dance scene.
A song more likely to be associated with that of Justin Timberlake than Audioslave, ‘Part Of Me’ from Cornell’s 2009 solo album, Scream, surprised fans globally and showed the vocalist to refuse easy categorisation.
A nightclub hit, the catchy, electronic song is certain to catch those familiar with his earlier work off-guard and show just how nuanced the musician was throughout his career.
8. Shadow On The Sun – Audioslave (2002)
When Audioslave come to mind, most fans think of their hits ‘Be Yourself’ and ‘Show Me How To Live’ but little attention is paid to ‘Shadow On The Sun’, a song that got little recognition from listeners.
Bluesy and country-esque, the vocalist incorporates hints of Johnny Cash style vocals amongst his signature, distinctive sound to create an Audioslave song unlike any other.
9. Loud Love- Louder Than Love (1989)
As of now, it seems as though most of the singer’s less appreciated work is from later on in his career, when he began to take a step back from the heavy, forceful Grunge vocals and instead go down the more stripped-back, heartfelt approach.
However, when people think of Chris Cornell’s most famous band, they instantly think of Soundgarden, but rarely acknowledge the album, Louder than Love. The album that thrust the band into the spotlight, Louder Than Love was a massive success at the time of its release but, over time, its prominence has faded away.
One of the singles from the album, ‘Loud Love’ is the most standout, perfectly showing off the distinctive, roaring vocals of Cornell that immediately labelled him as a once-in-a-lifetime vocalist.
10. Disappearing Act- Carry On (2007)
Bringing the list to a close is the acoustic, vocal-driven song, ‘Disappearing Act’ from the second solo album, Carry On.
A heart-wrenching, rustic ballad, ‘Disappearing Act’ is easily one of the most beautiful songs written by the musician. For those unfamiliar with solo Cornell’s career, this song is the perfect place to start
From the incredible songwriting ability involved to the stripped-back yet enchanting vocal melody, ‘Disappearing Act’ is one that all fans must hear to fully appreciate the extensive talent of the artist.
Do you agree with our list? Are there any songs that you think we missed? Let us know via the comment section below!