A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Welcome to our series highlighting the music we have here at Thomas Ford Memorial Library. Each week of 2013 we will discuss one of our favorite songs from the collection. Classical or Country, Hip-Hop or Heavy Metal, we’ll be blogging for every taste.
There are a few generally excepted ways of making heavy music. You can simply base your song around a loud distorted guitar riff, often giving the mere illusion of heaviness more than anything else. You can go the more genuine, if somewhat plodding, route of having your guitars, bass, and drums all pound out the same exact riff, creating a truly heavy sounding thud with each chord. Or, finally, you can take a powerfully syncopated rhythm section with a simple but propulsive guitar riff sitting neatly in its pocket, and match that with a squealing high pitched lead. It’s the more subtle but more rewarding “Immigrant Song” method.
Soundgarden are masters of this last sort of heavy, and I think in “Jesus Christ Pose” they take the form to it’s greatest heights. There’s a particularly cathartic moment about half way through when the bass and drums are making an almost tribal sounding racket that could be called heavy all on it’s own, the rhythm guitar is pounding out the simple, hypnotic riff, a doubled lead guitar part pairs a feedback laden swirl with a sharp hook, and Chris Cornell screams in that pitch perfect scream of his: “But you’re staring at me like I’m/Like I’m driving the/Nails! Nails! Nails!”
It’s rebellious adolescent perfection. The owner of their record company, Sub-Pop’s Jonathan Poneman, once referred to the song as “psychosis-inducing.” I think my thirteen year old self would have agreed—if only I would have turned down my boombox and stopped bouncing around my bedroom like it was a mosh-pit long enough to think about it.
Take a look at the official music video below (which, if you were lucky enough to be a child of the early nineties, will take you right back to your Headbanger’s Ball days) and stop by the library to pick up our copy of Badmotorfinger.
Review by Matthew