Remembering Chris Cornell Through One Music Video

May 18, 2017

A music video should be a few things

  • Obviously, it should be a true visual embodiment of the song.
  • It should convey the feeling or message of the song without taking over or distracting from the artist. (There is some grey area for a director’s interpretation.)
  • The best music video’s make you like a song, just because of its association with the video.

Audioslave’s “Like A Stone” hold’s to these tenants easily. In essence, it may seem like a simple music video. Many other bands have attempted to try and recreate the natural feeling of playing together for a music video, but have only managed to make an underwhelming video for an often forgettable song. Because music videos are often made at the direction of the artist…they offer a glimpse into their psyche.

The music video begins with Chris Cornell sitting, with his head facing down, mic in his hand, waiting for the song to begin. He isn’t standing, with his body contorted in a Jagger-esque beg for sexual tension and screaming women. Though his vocals in “Like A Stone” are torn yet hauntingly sexual, he appears as just a man waiting for the song to start. Interspersed with images in a gothic tinted room, Chris taps his foot to the beat still waiting. Patiently, not seductively staring into the camera like many artists do in music videos. It portrays a vulnerability and realism about Audioslave. They aren’t getting ready to perform. It seems like they’re just doing another take. The shots pair well with one another as they push and pan around the room to each musician. This naturalness remains a constant.

The video manages to be a perfect conduit for the song. Cornell is a subtle performer with a powerhouse of a voice, who shy’s away from looking at the camera for too long. It’s an earnest music video that allows you to focus on the song, but gives you hazy eyed visuals to evoke an understanding. The imagery is vague and not forced unlike say a music video like Katy Perry’s “Bon Appetite” which takes the literal interpretation so far that the music video borders on hokey trash and a try-hard appeal for humor. But maybe I’m wrong because that song is empty nonsense, where as “Like A Stone” lyrics are meant to be mulled over.

This music video frames the song like a painting. I am not a huge Chris Cornell, Audioslave, or Soundgarden fan but I love this song…and I don’t think I would have, if not for this music video. RIP Chris Cornell.




Betty Windsor is a film snob and co-host of  shows Geek Versus Week and the Graveyard Shift. 


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