Jesus Christ Pose

Album: Badmotorfinger (1991)
Charted: 30

Songfacts®:

  • This is not a religious song, but it expresses irritation at celebrities who abuse and exploit the image of Jesus Christ on the cross, known as the Jesus Christ Pose (outstretched arms, head back).

    The pose can be seen in any number of Creed videos featuring a wind-swept Scott Stapp, but for Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell, it was Jane's Addiction lead singer Perry Farrell, whose antics and onstage demeanor he always found to be pretentious, who inspired this song.

    It wasn't just Farrell, though. Flipping through magazines, Cornell would see models striking the pose, sometimes complete with a crown of thorns. These folks likening themselves and their troubles to those of Jesus was too much for Cornell, and he let them have it here.

    Cornell attended Catholic school until seventh grade, when his free thinking, rebellious personality became too much of a problem and his mom pulled him out (along with his sister). His inquisitive nature served him well as a lyricist; songs like this one show his disdain for ignorance and a false sense of persecution.
  • This is one of the few Soundgarden songs with writing credits going to all four band members. Their guitarist Kim Thayil told us that whoever brings in the main riff typically gets a credit along with the lyricist (usually Cornell), but they have no set system for distributing the credits.
  • Directed by Eric Zimmerman, the band made a controversial video for this song where the band demonstrated the "Jesus Christ Pose," intercut with shots of a girl on a cross. MTV didn't play it during their regular programming, but they did air it on both their Metal show Headbanger's Ball and their Alternative music showcase 120 Minutes. This crossover showed that the band had wide appeal over the various rock formats that were burgeoning, and they soon caught on in the grunge genre as well. The band set out to reach a wide audience, and this song proved that they were on their way to achieving that goal.
  • At the 4:46 point, you can hear a particularly potent scream from Chris Cornell. Reminiscent of Roger Daltrey's primal wail in "Won't Get Fooled Again," it's a great demonstration of the singer's vocal control, something he worked hard to achieve.
  • After serving as the opening act for Guns N' Roses and then Skid Row, Soundgarden became headliners in the spring of 1992 when they set out on a UK tour. This song, which was their first British hit, was typically the last song in their encore. On later tours, they would sometimes open with this song.

Comments: 19

  • Bubblesk from Memphis, TnWhat technical proficiency this song has! I've been a Soundgarden fan from the early days & continue to be. The song has a strange yet interesting background to it. While not as catchy a tune as their others, it displays their instrumental prowess to advantage. Yeah.
  • Bobby from Athens, GreeceBy the way guys, did you know that a same-titled song is in Wheedle's Groove's album "Kearney Barton"? Barton was a great sound engineer and his work can be credited with forging the powerful aural esthetic that became widely known as the "original Northwest Sound".
    http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=8719
    http://www.thrilljockey.com/catalog/?id=104229
  • Ammon from Houston, TxThis is certainly not Soundgarden's best song to listen to, but one of the more technical, and does a great job of showing off the backing instruments. The drums are insane and the bass is comparable to RHCP's Coffee Shop.

    Also, ANYTHING off of Badmotorfinger>Smells Like Teen Spirit.
  • Pete from New Haven, Ctsorry kurt, though its not my favorite SG song. 4th of july gets the award for the heaviest. taking into account the subject matter of course. pete, way too new england
  • Greg from Port St. Lucie, Fldigitaldreamdoor.com didn't rank this as the greatest song of the 90's. Smells Like Teen Spirit received that honor. In fact, this song wasn't even in the top 200. But they did rank it as Soundgarden's best song (yet Black Hole Sun ranks as # 19 on the greatest songs of the 90s)
  • Gaelan from Linwood, CanadaThis is not the song where Cornell hits his highest recorded note, the highest note Cornell has ever recorded is on Say Hello 2 Heaven by Temple Of The Dog.
  • Dylan from New Britain, CtIts probobly in the top 5 for greatest songs of the nineties. Like Smells Like Teen Spirit, Jeremy, plus some other songs im sure are up there
  • Brandon from Saskatoon, Canadaat the start, it's just too noisy
  • Ringgo from Montclair, CaStill to me the best Soundgarden hard rock song. I've often wondered if Audioslave could pull off covering this song, knowing how fast this thing is, especially the drums (not that Brad Wilk's not a good drummer ; he's great. Just wondering if they can do it, that's all)
  • Matt from Millbrae, Cachris cornell could probably peel the paint off of walls if he wanted to...besides freddie mercury and robert plant, hes the best ever.
  • Greg from Erie, PaI wonder what Cornell thinks of Kanye, then?
  • Josh from New York, Nythis song absolutely owns smells like teen spirit. it's not even close. this actually takes talent - the drum intro is insane and cornell has amazing range on this.
  • E from Vancouver, Canadamaybe not the best song, but im sure their reason for puting it at #1 was originality. Personally I would say its one of the best of the 90s.
  • Matt from Millbrae, Cai agree with Luke. this is not the greatest song of the 90's. nirvanas got to be up there along with other good bands. this song is good but not THAT good
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandGreat song but greatest song of the nineties?

    Better than anything By Slayer? Iron Maiden? Pantera? Sepultura?... I doubt it very much
  • Nick from San Francisco, CaThis isn't close to Soundgarden's best song, let alone the best of the decade. digitaldreamdoor is full of morons. Trust me, I've been there, I know...
  • Reed from Hagerstown, Inawesome song and great message. www.digitaldreamdoor.com ranked it as the greatest song of the nineties.
  • Kurt from Downers Grove, IlThis is probably Soundgarden's heaviest song; when I saw them in concert in 1996, they closed the show with this.
  • Jenn from Old Orchard Beach, MeActually the video used to be played on MTV's Headbangers' Ball
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