Watch Soundgarden's Chris Cornell Control the Fallon Stage
  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2015

  • Posted by: Erin Walsh

Before watching Chris Cornell's performance on Jimmy Fallon last night, I have to admit I anticipated boredom. Sure, Cornell is a Grammy-award winning songwriter and the frontman of Soundgarden, but I also have to admit I've had little interaction with him or his music. I expected a washed out rock star desperately clenching onto his last tastes of stardom by doing what he has always done with ease - then mustering a product out of that. What I expected to be an insincere attempt at fast cash turned out to be something I connected with deeply, and proved to me that a true artists craft sees no age.

Cornell performed "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart," a song that begins in a slow minor key with snippets of uplifting strikes on the guitar. When I think of heartbreak, I think of an all-encompassing, suffocating pain. I'm talking about the kind of pain where there's nothing else you can think about. Where every task is daunting, and it doesn't seem like it has any end. I thought this kind of pain only existed among youth, before the harsh realities desensitize us all into becoming adults. Cornell proved to me I was dead wrong. In listening to the lyrics of "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart," I learned that despite Cornell's years of experience as a performer (and I'm sure many failed relationships) that this level of pain never does go away, especially not for a true artist. He recognizes the duty the artist has in keeping this raw vulnerability alive. With ease, he sings "Every little word upon your lips/ Makes a little cut where blood pours out/ Every little drop of blood a kiss that I won't miss," where the power his lovers words possess over his entire being seems apparent. As painful and pure this love is, the damaging severity of his feelings is something that he won't miss.

The song was steady and uneventful, formulaic in all the right places with a carefully crafted guitar solo at its bridge. Cornell performs his music as he would brush his teeth or comb his hair - like its something that needs to be done, and is done without thought. Though the performance wasn't exactly trailblazing, we can expect Cornell's solo album Higher Truth to be nothing short of unabashed lyricism and adept musicianship.

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