Like Suicide

Album: Superunknown (1994)

Songfacts®:

  • Chris Cornell was writing the music for this song in his basement when he heard a thump on his front door. When he opened the door, he saw a robin writhing around on the ground, it had obviously flown into the window and broken its neck: "Dazed out in a garden bed with a broken neck lays my broken gift."

    So he grabbed a brick and smashed the bird with to put it out of its misery: "And my last ditch was my last brick lent to finish her."

    Then he went back downstairs and wrote the lyrics. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kurt - Downers Grove, IL
  • Despite the title, this song has nothing to do with suicide. The album was released about a month before Kurt Cobain took his own life, leading many listeners to analyze his lyrics for premonitions. Chris Cornell was sometimes asked about this, and he made it clear that looking for suicidal thoughts in song lyrics was hopeless.
  • An all-acoustic version of this song can be found on Alive In The Superunknown. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Adrian - Brookings, SD
  • This is the last song on the US version of the album. On other versions, the last song is "She Likes Surprises."
  • Chris Cornell revealed in 1994 to Melody Maker the disturbing incident that inspired the lyrics of the song. "'Like Suicide' was specific once I wrote out the lyrics. I was writing the music to that in my basement when I heard this loud thump from above. I thought someone was trying to break in, so I was going up the stairs to investigate when I heard it again - a loud THUMP!

    When I got to the door, there was this beautiful female robin writhing on the ground. She'd broken her neck flying into the window. It was obviously broken, flipped back, but she was still breathing. So I went and found this cinder block and smashed her head with it. Then I went back downstairs, and with the title of that song in mind I just wrote about the incident. It seemed opportune - someone, or someone else's misery, can often be a great opportunity for a song."

Comments: 19

  • Matthew 23 from ZionO Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
  • Nicole from Long Island, NyThe acoustic version is beautiful, and haunting. The guitar work is so mesmerizing. Chris Cornell is an incredibly talented musician, lyricist and a powerhouse singer.
  • Leon from Denver Co"Love's like suicide" is pretty much the pithy summary of the agony of love. With Carly Simon ("The spy who loved me" / "You're so vain") the performance is one where hints of agony are conveyed via an ironic celebration of the other that redirects attention back to me. "Love's like suicide" is a sort of a similar recasting of agency -- suicide is reassertion of self-control, positing love as suicide is an attempt to rewrite the past so that the other isn't a part of it.
  • Snake Plissken from South Of HeavenYea I guess this can go on the playlist.
  • Robyn from Philadelphia, PaIronically, my name really is Robyn... should I ever fly into a window & break my neck I hope Chris Cornell is there w/ brick to put me out of my misery... just hope he sings to me 1st.
  • Easy from Jacksonville, ArAn All acoustic version is also on the S.F.W. soundtrack (cool movie). Not sure if this is the same version that Adrian mentioned above.
  • Chiffonade from Tampa, FlI love this song. I'm sorry I read the backstory. Cornell did it on April 1, 2009 as a solo act in a very small venue - Center Stage Theater, Atlanta, 1100 seats. It was incredible. But I'm still sorry I read the backstory.
  • Daniel from Mar Castle, MiI think its strange that we live in a world where there is such thing as a "mercy killing." That is, after all, exactly what Cornell did for the bird. That action is one huge paradox, and I think he sums it up greatly with the lines "just like suicide." Mercy killings are strange, dark, and a thing that will lead to shunning. Just like how suicide can be a cruel and twisted release.
  • Age from C-ville, PaI'm sooo glad the people below me agree that Soundgarden has been horribly overlooked because of the over-excessive popularity of Nirvana. Although they were a great band they have led to the forgetfulness of Soundgarden listeners. That point aside, what a great song. Lyrically it is possibly the best performance for Chris Cornell. Long live Soundgarden!
  • Hanna from Stockholm, SwedenSeemes like im the only one that dosent live in america haha. Well, I love this song and I love soundgarden. Hell, I love all grunge, exept for some pieces from nirvana. I don't know if thats because of their music or because of the fakt that cobain has been glorified and called the best...Idon't like when people do that.
  • Thomas from Northfield, NjI don't want to take anything away from Nirvana, and I fear that that often happens when people try to compare Soundgarden and Nirvana. Nirvana and Soundgarden are both equaily great, there just different. It is a shame though that Soundgarden gets so overlooked all the time. Nirvana is remebered because they were an Indie type band that brought Grunge music to the mainstream with Nevermind. Pearl Jam is remebered because they produced some of the great rock anthems of their time. Soundgarden is forgotten because unlike Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains they had very few cross-over hits, choicing instead to stay true to there metal-grunge fan base. This is a great song, and like all of Cornell's songs it has a great amount of hidden meaning. I feel that all of Cornell's songs have an element of meaning that we can only try to decifer. That's part of what makes him such a great lyracist. He has an ability to connect to everyone, as shown by the different reactions shown by the fans on this one song alone. I think that it's about all the things that everyone mentioned, heroin, Cobain, love, and suicide. Soundgarden is one of the few bands that can make one thing about everything. And it is unfortunate that they are so often forgotten. Their one of the greatest rock bands of all time, but the average rock fan would probably have a hard time naming even three of their songs, including "Black Hole Sun." "Like Suicide" is a great song, and like Andrew form Brooklyn said, it's a great slow song. I'm glad it takes around seven minutes, because it's a forgotten masterpiece.
  • Richard from Riverside, IlWhen I first heard this song I thought it refered to Cobain in his "garden bed". The gun was lent to Cobain. I was moved to tears when I put this story behind this haunting lyric. With eyes of blood and bitter blue.. Bit down on a bullet..safe outside my gilded cage..with an ounce of pain I weild a ton of rage..just like suicide.
    Suicide is such an angry act that leaves all so empty, I agree with the ascertion that Chris writes nearly all of his songs with a universal theme and even if the robin might have flown into his door(?) he was drawing from his experience with the blackness of suicide for us all.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvAgreed. This is one of the better songs on what I consider one of the greatest albums of all time. I don't say that lightly. I sat down two years ago and made my own list of what I thought were the 100 greatest albums ever. This album came in at number 8.
  • Mike from Erie, Paone of my favorites. the beauty of any good lyric is universalisim within it's meaning. i have a hard time believing the bird flying into the window story about the meaning of this song. even if cornell did say it himself. i have always believed it is about heroin addiction and what he saw in the seattle area. "Eyes were waking up just to fall asleep", the nod that heroin creates, "Dazed out in a garden bed With a broken neck lays my broken gift, just like suicide". heroin addiction isn't suicide but is "like suicide". "And my last ditch
    Was my last brick, Lent to finish her, Finish her". last ditch was the last shot and never used again. "Bit down on the bullet now,I had a taste so sour,I had to think of something sweet". about withdrawl. "She lived like a murder .How she'd fly so sweetly. She lived like a murder. But she died. Just like suicide" just a beautiful song!
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaThis is a really good song, and it's good that it's nice and long.
  • Marco from Stanfield, United Statesi do agree soundgarden is the most meaningful and talented band ever in my opinion. it really sucks how they are overlooked soo much just because of the "pop" melody in "smells like teen spirit" from nirvana. it stole peoples attention away from them. its actualy kinda funny since the song was used as a parody to make fun of all the "pop" sounding songs about teen rebellion and alot of people only know nirvana because of it. they fell victim to kurts plan!
  • Dan from Pittsburgh, PaExcellent song. Another song often overlooked from an often overlooked band.
  • Kurt from Downers Grove, IlGreat song. Chris was actually writing the music for Like Suicide in his basement when he heard a thump on his front door. When he opened the door, he saw a robin writhing around on the ground, it had obviously flown into the window and broken its neck. ("Dazed out in a garden bed with a broken neck lays my broken gift.") So he grabbed a brick and smashed the bird with to put it out of its misery. ("And my last ditch was my last brick lent to finish her.") Then he went back downstairs and wrote the lyrics.
  • Andrew from Brooklyn, NyThis is one of my favorite Soundgarden songs. Damn this song is great. It's also one of the BEST SLOWEST GRUNGE SSONGS EVER!!!!
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