Outshined

Album: Badmotorfinger (1991)
Charted: 50
  • Written by Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell, this is one of his more personal songs. It deals with the extremes of his personality: how he can feel like he's on top of the world one moment and in the gutter the next.
  • The song runs 5:10, but the video was cut down to about 4:05 to make it more appealing to MTV. It got a few spins on the network as a "Buzzworthy" video, but never made it into regular rotation.

    The band wasn't happy with the clip, which was directed by Matt Mahurin - he was also working Metallica's "The Unforgiven" at the time, and Soundgarden thought they were getting short shrift. Guitarist Kim Thayil was particularly frustrated, since his solo was edited out.
  • The line, "I am looking California but feeling Minnesota" became one of the most memorable Soundgarden lyrics. Chris Cornell came up with that line when he was in a dour mood and looked at himself in the mirror. He was wearing his typical outfit of baggy shorts and a T-shirt (high fashion in the '90s), and realized that he looked like a carefree beachgoer, even though he didn't feel like one.

    This line crept into the collective conscious and even inspired the name of the 1996 movie Feeling Minnesota, starring Keanu Reeves and Cameron Diaz.
  • Live performances of this song always included the "Chris Cornell Stomp," which became one of his signature stage moves. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jonathon - Clermont, FL
  • Following "Jesus Christ Pose," this was the second single released from Badmotorfinger, which was Soundgarden's first platinum-selling album. It helped get the band a spot opening for Guns n' Roses, since Axl Rose was a fan.
  • When Chris Cornell started doing one-man shows in 2011 on his Songbook tour, this was a highlight of his setlist. Cornell says the song is very well-suited for acoustic performance. "I had written an instrumental part in the middle, an interlude, on electric guitar," he told Rolling Stone. "On acoustic guitar, it turned out to have a nice Led Zeppelin-y feel. And the vocals flipped into a dirty-blues thing."
  • In March of 1992, Cornell spoke to Rock Power about writing more personal lyrics on Badmotorfinger. "I suppose there are moments on this LP where I'm being more biographical," he said. "I've never really been biographical in my lyrics, so when I wrote a line like 'I'm looking California and feeling Minnesota' from 'Outshined,' it just felt refreshing."

Comments: 23

  • Diane from NyI think Kane and Aaron got it right. The “dog” imagery is an Andy Wood reference that is used again and again... Call Me A Dog, Temple Of The Dog, Ride a pack of dogs. Also I believe the use of “child” is an Andrew Wood reference as his stage name was Landrew the Love Child. Alice In Chains uses that phrase inverted, in their Wood tribute, Would? And the final nod to Andrew Wood is the chorus itself... “Outshined, outshined, outshined, outshined”. The name of the first Mother Love Bone EP was... Shine. Oh and Andy Wood’s ring is on a string around Cornell’s neck in the video. Not biological? It absolutely is. Perhaps subliminal on Cornel’s part? I doubt it. Guarding his privacy is more likely, which was his prerogative.
  • Bongsongs from UsaThis song sure seems to be about intense depression that was augmented by heavy heroin and alcohol use.
    The author wakes up depressed every day [I got up feeling so down], tired of a meaningless, vapid, "rock star" existence [I got off being sold out / I've kept the movie rolling / But the story's getting old now].
    He wears the uniform of SoCal, but can't force the plastic smile necessary to thrive in the wasteland and tar [I just looked in the mirror / And things aren't looking so good / I'm looking California and feeling Minnesota]
    So he gets high af on heroin ("mostly alcohol", but lots of dope, too!!) until showtime rolls around again and playing frontman is its own kind of high and the author feels better for a little while [So now you know, who gets mystified ... I'm down on my knees today / It gives me butterflies, gives me away / 'Till I'm up on my feet again] ...
    Until he realizes that he isn't actually even that good of a musician [I'm feeling outshined] ...
    So he kills himself, alone in a remote area [Someone let the dogs out / They'll show where the truth is / The grass is always greener / Where the dogs are s--tting].
    The author asserts that he is so depressed, he's unable to become intoxicated, no matter the volume of substances consumed [I'm feeling that I'm sober / Even though I'm drinking]. Meanwhile, the author's depression just keeps getting worse and worse [I can't get any lower / Still I feel I'm sinking].
    Sad, sad s--t; especially considering Cornell's eventual suicide. May he rest in peace.
  • David Wheatley from Prince Edward, OntarioOutshine's main riff/verses are in 7/4 time. Many of Soundgarden's songs are not in the standard 4/4 time but some still become highly-rotated singles. When asked about this, lead guitarist Kim Thayil has said that much of the time he didn't even realise he had written it that way.
  • Jorge from Bronx, NyGreat cd,,,My first BMG purchase,,,,and my last,lol,,,Chris Cornell has a superb voice
  • Mike from Matawan, NjUhh, Tim? Albert? I believe your 'Sarcasm Meters' are in the off position. I do believe that Ole Noah is only 'havin' a laugh', to quote Ricky Gervais.
  • Kane from State College, PaI saw in a Chris Cornell interview that the base of the song came directly from Andrew Wood. He said that Andrew always "Outshined" him when he was alive. He explained that he felt that Wood was above him as a vocalist and a lyricist. Simply put. Chris also said that the line "Looking California, Feeling Minnesota" ended up being one of his favorite Soundgarden lines that he wrote. Which, in itself is ironic to me, considering that the song was originally about how he felt he was being outshined, and then he went and made his favorite lyric from the song. I really wish I could find the video interview. I watched it on Youtube maybe a year ago. If I find it I'll be sure to put it up here.
  • Dylan from New Britain, CtThis is why Soundgarden was one of the best bands of all time.
  • Tim from Shakopee, MnSettle down there, Albert. I do completely agree that 90210 had nothing to do with the song, but 90210 started in '90 and the song wasn't released until '91, so saying the song came out "way before" isn't exactly accurate. As far as "looking California and feeling Minnesota" goes, I remember listening to an interview where the band said it meant, "looking like sh*t and feeling like sh*t."
  • Albert from El Paso, Txthe song came out way before 90210..RIDICULOUS!!! nirvana & gnr are way overrated. if anybody outshined anybody, it was soundgarden outshining them."looking california" means evrything may seem bright, warm & happy on the outside & "feeling minesota" means feeling down & depressed on the inside. basically someone put up a front that theyre ok, but they are really in distress...
  • Aaron from Palm Bay, FlYou guys can all be right about interpretation. With everything that Chris Cornell has ever wrote, there are many double meanings and symbolic representations. In order to understand all of these meanings, you have to know a lot of background about his life. For example, the chorus of Outshined,"show me the power child, I'd like to say that I'm down on my knees today" can probably suggest that he is thanking God(whether it is sarcastic or not) that the band has gotten big.This religious meaning probably stems from his religious upbringing. you can really see it all through his career. Another thing that he uses symbollically is the dog, or dog references. They are usually to represent his friend Andrew Wood, who was the lead singer of Mother Love Bone and died of a Heroin OD. A lot of his early songs with Soundgarden deal with this. In down on the upside, you start to see his frustration with the break up of the band and his marital problems. Lots of his songs are written about that. But Again, Chris' lyrics mean something to everyone. that's why he's so awesome.
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlIt's "The grass is always greener where the dogs are sh*tting!"
  • Cel from Philadelphia, PaNever could make any sense of the lyrics. What's with the line "The grass is always greener where the dogs are shedding"
  • Rick from Boston, MaMatt, the movie title was inspired by the song lyric, not the other way around.

    I have always felt that this song was about depression, especially concerning alcoholism. I also really liked the scene in True Romance that uses this song, where Brad Pitt is smoking a bong made out of a honey bear.
  • Matt from Melbourne, United StatesThe line, "I am looking California but feeling Minnesota" inspired the name of the 1996 movie Feeling Minnesota, starring Keanu Reeves and Cameron Diaz.

    HOW CAN THIS BE? Considering the album this song was off "Bad Motorfinger" was released in 1991 how can one of the songs be inspired by a movie released in 1996?
  • Matt from Millbrae, Casoundgarden is awesome...even if nirvana did a lot of the attention that doesn't take away from their legacy. Chris Cornell is my pick for the best vocalist in rock...ever.
  • Noah from New York, NyThe video for this song inspired some of my favorite Beavis and Butthead lines. When they're watching the bearded guy on the treadmill next to the band, Beavis asks, "Isn't that the lead singer of the Spin Doctors?" And Butthead says: "Yeah. He jams with Soundgarden sometimes." Classic.
  • Noah from New York, NyThe song is clearly about Beverly Hills 90210. It is told from the perspective of Brandon Walsh, in the first season, who has moved to Beverly Hills with his family from Minnesota. He feels intimidated and "outshined" by his glamorous new friends. Even though he quickly adapts to the fashionable Beverly Hills style, when he looks in the mirror, he's "looking California but feeling Minnesota." There are many other Soundgarden songs about 90210. I have proof. Somewhere.
  • Rob from PerthSoundgarden kick butt.they're so creative and loud.it's hard to find an album that you can listen to every song on it with out having to skip any.A-sides (greatest hits) is one of the best albums to listen too.Its just so easy too listen too hahaha.
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaI think the song is good. It also think it's about depression, maybe, I'm not sure. Marco in Stanfield- you squished two words together- bestmusic-that's just great! This song is just great! Badmotorfinger is just great! I hate the word 'paradox'
  • Marco from Stanfield, United Statesit might also be about how bands like nirvana and gnr steal attention away from soundgarden because soundgarden is like once you find it its better than what is around it even though whats around it it still some of the bestmusic ever!
  • Ryan from Kukamonga, CanadaActually, I believe it's about depression. Jesus Christ Pose would be about lionizing celebrities.
  • Dan from Olathe, KsI like the use of paradox in the lyrics.
  • Will from Mcallen , Txthis song is about celebrity and how people worship them like religeous figures.
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