“Blow Up the Outside World” by Soundgarden

Perhaps we can term “Blow Up the Outside World” as Chris Cornell and co.’s version of a braggadocious track, as there is definitely a boastful element to the song. 

The vocalist takes on this ‘nothing can kill me but me’ type of mentality. And in the second verse he literally acknowledges the simple truth that he knows he isn’t invincible.  So what the aforementioned attitude rather indicates is that he isn’t the type to give up, no matter how bad things may get or how many people wish to bring about or witness his downfall.

And again, he is quite cocky in his approach. For instance, the vocalist is not interested in any external pieces of advice. It’s more like you hold down yourself and your people, and he’ll do the same. So let’s just say he doesn’t need any encouragement in terms of staying optimistic, as through sheer survival experience the narrator knows that he isn’t the type to crumble in the first place. 

And yes, some of this does quite ironic, right down to the assertion that “nothing can do me in before I do myself”, coming from someone like Chris Cornell who did ultimately commit suicide.

“Blow Up the Outside World”

And as for the title of the track, it is apparently indicative of some type of disdain the vocalist has towards the world at large. But it isn’t like he’s a terrorist or anything like that. Rather, in the name of making it more understandable to some listeners, perhaps the titular statement can rather be read as ‘f**k the outside world’. 

The singer perceives surviving on this Earth such that his concern is on his own inner circle. And for everyone beyond that, it’s sort of like you have to be on your own guard in the name of not letting the depressing factors of life, whatever they may be, destroy your optimism.

Lyrics to "Blow Up the Outside World"

Facts about “Blow Up the Outside World”

This track can be found on Soundgarden’s fifth studio album, “Down on the Upside”. And A&M Records released it as the sixth track on the playlist of that project on the date of 21 May 1996.

It was actually the third single the band released in support of the album.

“Blow Up the Outside World” proved to be a hit, topping Billboard’s Mainstream Rock list. It also broke the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number 2 on RPM’s Rock/Alternative listing up north.

Chris Cornell (1964-2017) wrote the song alone, as was pretty much the Soundgarden standard in those days. And the group, as a whole, is credited with co-producing this joint alongside Adam Kasper.

Cornell penned this tune while in Toronto. And as the singer tells the story, he was never particularly fond of it, thinking that it sounded too dissimilar to more traditional Soundgarden fare. However, everyone else involved was feeling it, so that’s how “Blow Up the Outside World” ultimately ended up being released.

Blow Up the Outside World

As noted earlier, Cornell eventually took his own life. This occurred in 2017, when he was 52 years old. By that time Soundgarden wasn’t as poppin’ as they once were, but they still retained a commercially-viable fanbase. 

Moreover Cornell had his own solo projects on the side, as well as his efforts with Audioslave, that were comparably successful. So even though he committed suicide, it doesn’t appear that his depression had anything to do with the viability of his career. Rather Chris had been struggling with this mental disease for decades, even as at the release of this song (as sort of premised). Additionally he dealt with substance abuse issues which many feel contributed to his permanent downfall.

Kim Thayil discusses "Blow Up the Outside World"

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