“Room a Thousand Years Wide” by Soundgarden
The title of this song (“Room a Thousand Years Wide”) instantly gives the impression that it is a really deep piece. Moreover, readers familiar with Soundgarden know that their songs often contain some type of esoteric message.
However, Kim Thayil, who actually wrote the lyrics, has clarified that the wording really doesn’t have any specific meaning. And if it did, it definitely wouldn’t be anything deeply religious, as many have interpreted.
Rather the situation was like Matt Cameron had already written the music, and Thayil was diggin’ it, but according to Kim “no one else pursued it”. So that would obviously be why he picked up the pen instead of Chris Cornell, who usually handled such responsibilities for the band.
And the way Thayil has described the meaning is as it being “just (him)”. In other words, as stated earlier, this piece isn’t about anything in particular. Nor is it based on Kim Thayil’s personal experiences. Rather what it is intended to do is speak “more about experience in general”.
“Room a Thousand Years Wide”
So that is perhaps why he based it on a symbol as broad as “a thousand years wide”. A millennium is of course a vast amount of time where countless occurrences transpire. So the vocalist may be referring to the entire range of human experiences, if you will, though in more of a personalized kind of context. And in doing so, he also seemingly alludes to the notion that history is progressive, or something like that.
Indeed it is at this point where we will leave the interpretation up to the listener, which is probably how Thayil more or less intended anyway. But what we will close by saying is that even though (the actual album version of) this song was never released as a single, it still went on to become one of Soundgarden’s better-known tunes.
Facts about “Room a Thousand Years Wide”
This song was written by Soundgarden bandmates Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil, with the former handling the music and the latter, the lyrics.
Conventionally the group’s lead singer, Chris Cornell (1964-2017), was involved in the composition of Soundgarden’s songs. However, he did not participate in such a capacity on this particular tune.
The track officially came out on 8 October 1991. It did so via A&M Records, and the track was featured on Soundgarden’s third album, Badmotorfinger, which also came out that year. However, a previous version of the tune was also released in 1990 via Sub Pop. That was the label whom the band were signed to from the mid-to-late 1980s.
In addition to Chris Cornell (vocalist), Kim Thayil (guitarist) and Matt Cameron (drummer), the fourth member of Soundgarden at the time of this track’s release was Ben Shepherd (bassist).
Did Soundgarden release this as a single?
No. Their “Badmotorfinger” album had only the following singles: