(Neither a review of Chris Cornell live at QPAC, nor a memorial rant about the 90’s.)
— a guest post by Julie Beveridge
There was a lot riding on Chris Cornell’s Monday night show at QPAC. It was either going to reaffirm or destroy my ideal of the 1990’s. A man alone on stage (save for half a dozen or so guitars, a turn table and Jeff Buckley’s red telephone) had two hours to cement in me the 90’s as one of the 20th Century’s most influential decades for songwriting and music culture.
Why, in 2011, I hear you ask, does she decide to question this decade – when until now she has happily concluded that all women should aspire to be either Suze Demarche or Linda Perry, that all songs are pop songs, that there is no alternative music genre, that Coke does own and produce Pepsi (ok, so that one is just a corporate conspiracy theory that I have, it makes sense though right?), that television is the purest form of broadcasting, that culture is dead and its bones are slowly turning to dust – forming tiny particles that will spark a revolution?
Well, we all experience a few major turning points in our lives and I am heading for a biggun. In a couple of short weeks I’ll be bringing a new little human into the world – so I have a birthing suite playlist to compose! And as my entire CD collection has been relocated from our dingy spare room (now a beautiful nursery) and has taken up residence in a fist full of green shopping bags in our hallway, I’m left to ponder how so much of my understanding of music and culture is wrapped up in all these discs that were produced in the 90’s.
So I needed something truly of the decade to guide me once and for all, to tell me if there is any point in me unpacking those bags of CD’s in the hall, to give me a sign that girls in spaghetti strap dresses with white undershirts and doc martin’s are the purity of the past that I need to pass onto my son. And who else but the man who is truly a voice of his time, a man who wrote for and fronted Temple of the Dog, Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden and Audioslave. Who better to tell me but Chris Cornell (what with Boyz To Men on a touring hiatus after a fake tanning accident and Soul Asylum never really managing a comeback)?
Regardless of the why, I am happy to report that the 90’s are very much alive. In my mind, in disposed, in disguise, as no one knows.
Cornell is a voice of his time (of any time in fact) – and on Monday night he shot the breadth of it across a playlist that spanned all of his musical incarnations as well as seamlessly inserting a few telling covers throughout his set, namely Springsteen’s ‘State Trooper’, The Beatles’ ‘Ticket To Ride’, Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’ and CCR’s ‘Long as I Can See the Light’.
Cornell wore his influences on his sleeve – his own two plus decades worth of songwriting all logical extensions of these influencing pop songs.
So today? Well I’ll be dusting off a few jewel cases and sonically going back in time to create the perfect 90’s birthing playlist … want to know how to get from Muddy Waters to Mudhoney, from Perry Como to the Cosmic Psychos, from Little Patti to L’il Kim in three simple steps? Stay tuned.