Chris Cornell’s “When Bad Does Good”: A Review & Discussion.

Many musicians have played a big role in who I am today. Many artists inspire me to pursue my passion for all things creative, but not many artists touch my soul the way Chris Cornell had. Unlike many of his fans I didn’t grow up listening to him, but he came into my life at one of my most vulnerable and dark times, he comforted me when I felt the most isolated from my own soul. When Chris Cornell died it felt like I lost a close friend, I cried for days —  in fact, I still cry over his death and it’s been over a year. A lot of you may find that weird, crying over someone who I had never known personally or met, but that’s the impact of music. An artists work, if done well, can feel like it was made just for you. Chris’ music felt like he was speaking to me and only me. I could listen to him sing for hours, the sweet sound of his powerful voice fills my veins with a tingling sensation that drugs must feel like. 

Losing Chris so abruptly has made the healing process of letting him go a lot harder than losing a lot of musicians, at least its felt like that for me. Like a bad breakup, I’ve been going through the painful loop of re-playing his entire catalogue over and over again, while eating a tub of (coconut) ice cream and asking the universe “WHY?”, but I know why. The depression monster won, which confirms my theory that Chris Cornell was just too special for this universe.

Today, on September 21st, 2018, 490 days since the world lost an incredible musician, Chris Cornell fans have been blessed with one last parting gift. Vicky Cornell, the widow of the late musician has released an unreleased track by him. She told fans in a personalized email. ”

When Bad Does Good” was produced, recorded, and mixed by him. The track was a favourite of his and it wasn’t until a friend reminded Chris’ wife, Vicky of it, that she decided to share it with his fans.”

With this single release, they announced a legacy album, also known as “best of” album. Vicky Cornell shared,

“Since Chris’ sudden passing I have put all my efforts and energy into sharing his music and legacy with his fans from all over the world. I felt we needed to create a special collection to represent all of him – the friend, husband and father, the risk taker and innovator, the poet and artist. His soaring vocals found their way into the hearts and souls of so many. His voice was his vision and his words were his peace. This album is for his fans.”

Just reading that brings tears to my eyes, so beautifully put. This collection is more than a  “best hits” album, it’s more than a one last cash grab, it’s a beautifully packaged collection of the best poet and voice from this generation, for people to remember him by for years to come. Thank you, Vicky.

There will be a million interpretations of this song When Bad Does Good. Some of these will be from people who have studied Chris longer than me, some from people who’ve studied music, what I’m about to share however is how I connect to Chris and his poetry, it could be completely off the mark, but again it’s just how I feel.

The song starts with an organ playing while Chris sings the opening lines, “Standing beside an open grave, you’re fate decided, your life erased, your final hour has come today.. lit by the fire of your temples burning standing beside“. For some reason, what came to mind immediately is Chris watching us, his fans, his friends, his family, mourn him at a funeral, and this song is his explanation. It’s his note, that he never actually left. Which hit me like a ton of bricks.

I mentally prepared before pressing play, knowing that I would get a little misty-eyed no matter the tone of the song, but just the funeral-feeling the song gives right from the start swiped me off my feet, no amount of mental preparation could have helped me with that feeling. Chris is gone, whether we like it or not.

With this song, however, Chris is telling us through lyrics like “And I heard you say that flesh sells by the pound when blood is raining down it cuts a deep river and I’m diving“, he had always been prepared for an abrupt end to his life, whether it was last year or in the next, he had come to terms with it. As morbid as that sounds, I know that a lot of us, who suffer from Dysthymia — which is a persistent depressive disorder, at some point in their life acknowledge a daily battle will get exhaustive at some point in time.

But, like Chris states, “sometimes bad can do some good”, there’s always a light. Chris is at peace now, so when we ask the universe why he left us, or dissect his last performance for clues, blames his friends and family for not keeping a closer eye on him, is selfish. He’s at peace now,  our suffering is selfish. His death can be used as an example of raising awareness of mental illness of men in their middle ages, his death can be used as an example of to be more compassionate and empathetic with everyone on this earth — we never know when we’ll lose them.

Chris’ death may be a burial of his physical body, but not his spirit. This song is almost a rebirth, he states in the song “Now shine a light down onto the earth and shake this gold dust out, out of the dirt, no saints beside me and no prayers to guide me”, he is no longer restricted to his physical form and all that comes with it.

I always felt like that with Chris, like with his fellow Seattle Sound companion Kurt Cobain, they made music as a coping mechanism, not for the fame or fortune.  Chris broke out of his shell on stage, when performing, Chris would get lost in the music and it was just him and his poetry, connecting with people who understood what he was sharing. The fame, the money, the attention, slowly pulled his mind apart faster than the depression.

Now, Chris is safe in the stars, his soul can shine on forever through the work he’s left behind. This song is beautiful, moving, and painful; but necessary. When listening to it feels like, spiritually, all of us fans, friends and family of Chris are together for the first time since his death and are peacefully putting Chris to rest. We can all now understand that Chris is at peace now, which brings us peace.

For those of you who are like me and wake up every day having to fight the depression monster, or you wake up feeling isolated and alone from the world, please know that you’re not. If you have no one to call, text or talk to in real life, you have me — even if this is your first time on my blog; please never hesitate to contact me.

For me, when I feel like that I turn to music and writing. I turn to Chris Cornell’s music — before I turn into a sobbing mess again, I will wrap this post up. I can never say enough how much I miss Chris Cornell’s presence on this earth, but I am grateful to have been able to experience his music and continue to do so.

Thank You, Chris. You will never be forgotten.

If you’re interested in reading more about his impact on my life read my one year anniversary of his death post.

Pre-Order Chris Cornell’s “Career Retrospective” album on chriscornell.com

The album will be available everywhere on November 16th.

Stream When Bad Does Good: Apple ; Spotify; YouTube; Amazon; Google Play Music

Until next time interwebs 🕸

love,

Darya


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6 Comments

  1. I’m also putting up a post soon about listening to musicians that have died and how difficult that can sometimes be for me. This post is so well written and I just wish he was here to perform it for us all. I was watching Soundgarden live from 2012 a few nights ago and it just seems so strange that he’s really not here anymore. I was one of those people who didn’t start to listen to his amazing music until he was gone, and it’s strange to feel such a strong connection to a person who is no longer with us. That got ramble-y, but you did a great job. I love everything you post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Your post has me in tears. I miss Chris and his music very much. He was a very impactful and talented singer and songwriter. I feel your pain. It hurts to listen to his music but it hurts NOT to listen to his music. Thanks for the review and your interpretation of “When Bad Does Good.” I look forward to buying the album soon. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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