“Jesus Christ Pose” by Soundgarden
As will be further elaborated on in the trivia section, Soundgarden caught a lack of flack, including death threats, due to “Jesus Christ Pose”. Such came about specifically as the result of the visual media associated with it. And many people who took offense did so due to deeming such as being anti-Christian.
Well depending on one’s perspective or understanding, it may be. But it is all kinda ironic considering that, in a roundabout way, what Chris Cornell is actually doing throughout most of this track is defending Jesus. Or more to the point he is calling out public figures, and we can say musicians especially, who use their own ‘Jesus poses’ in trying to present themselves as persecuted or martyrs or what have you, basically comparing themselves to Jesus.
And you know the types he’s talking about – the ones who may hold their arm outstretched as if they’re on the cross or do a photoshoot wearing a fake crown of thorns, etc.
Who really pissed Cornell off in that regard is said to be one of his contemporaries by the name of Perry Farrell (of the band Jane’s Addiction). But doing so is still sort of a common device, even now in 21st century. So in response, the singer is dissing such individuals. He does so by using the metaphor of himself “driving the nails” into the perpetrator – an example which itself some may deem as a tasteless allusion to the crucifixion.
Was Chris Cornell actually a Believer?
Well, maybe, considering that Chris does refer to Jesus as “the Lord”, it can be said that he’s a believer himself. For example, he possessed a Catholic upbringing.
But it would be a stretch to actually call him a Christian. That is to say that considering the above lyrical analogy and the music video and all, he definitely didn’t have qualms about throwing jabs at or misrepresenting the religion, even if he is biggin’ up Jesus.
But in the very least, we can say that the titular namedrop was someone he venerated. He likely revered Christ to the extent that he didn’t want your everyday entertainer trying to capitalize off of him.
All in all, Chris Cornell is basically dissing celebrities who compare themselves to Jesus for commercial purposes.
Music Video and Cover Art of “Jesus Christ Pose”
Soundgarden handed over the directorship of this song’s music video to Eric Zimmerman. However, they themselves were heavily involved in its creation.
Said video relies heavily on religious imagery. Some of it, specifically the utilization of crosses, proved too controversial for MTV’s mainstream. And in explaining the situation, Kim Thayil implied that there may have also been some racism and perhaps even sexism involved, respectively due to the race and gender of the person they depicted as being on the cross, in MTV’s decision to more or less ban the clip.
And yet other people were apparently offended by the cover art to “Jesus Christ Pose”. In fact they were so much so that Soundgarden received death threats while in the UK. But oddly enough the UK, where it peaked at number 30, is also the only country in which this song charted.
Release of “Jesus Christ Pose”
This track officially came out as part of Soundgarden’s third album, “Badmotorfinger”, on 24 September 1991. And the company that made it public was A&M Records.
It was the first single Soundgarden released from the album. Two other singles followed:
- “Rusty Cage”
Writing and Production Credits
The lyrics of this song were written by Chris Cornell. And he also contributed to the composition of the music alongside his bandmates:
- Matt Cameron
- Ben Shepherd
- Kim Thayil
Soundgarden as a unit are credited with producing this song. They handled the production with another artist and regular collaborator, Terry Date.
You may recognize Soundgarden as the 20th century rock band that topped the Billboard 200 with 1994 album “Superunknown”, the full-length that came after “Badmotorfinger”. Unfortunately the crew disbanded shortly after “Superunknown”, in 1997, though they regrouped in 2010.
Then in 2017, Soundgarden was dealt what would likely be its final blow when frontman Chris Cornell took his own life. The band disbanded again shortly thereafter. But before that they did manage to drop one more album, “King Animal” (2012). The said album reached number 5 on the Billboard 200.