Jesus Christ Pose

Composed by Ben Shepherd / Chris Cornell / Kim Thayil / Matt Cameron

Song Review by

Like the mid-'70s and the late '80s/early '90s, rock music had become seriously out of touch with its tough, working-class roots. Punk helped give rock a much-needed kick in the pants in the '70s (which had become bogged down with pretentious prog rock and bland soft rock), and Seattle's grunge movement helped wipe out all those horrible glam metal bands in the early '90s. It was bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden that helped put hard rock back on track -- for a while, anyway. While writing for their breakthrough 1991 release, Badmotorfinger, Soundgarden singer/guitarist Chris Cornell noticed the "larger than life" persona that the majority of rock frontmen had assumed -- so much so that it was obvious that they were striking Jesus-like poses for all the rock mags; hence the song "Jesus Christ Pose" (although initially, many assumed the song was about power-hungry televangelists). In addition to Cornell's biting lyrics and vocals, the rest of the band helped fuel unquestionably one of Soundgarden's most vicious and venomous rockers. Breakneck guitar riffs do battle with sledgehammer drumming for most of the song's five minute and 50 seconds -- although the track initially rises from a haze of feedback and dies that way when it eventually screeches to a halt. When the band would perform the song live, the feedback parts would be even farther stretched out, sometimes pushing the song past the ten-minute mark (as evidenced in the currently out-of-print 1992 live home video, Motorvision). The song's rarely seen promo clip was banned by MTV due to its images of crucifixes other religious symbols, but it remains one of the band's finest clips. While the group isn't seen playing their instruments in the video, images of twirling weather vanes and its members walking through the desert are mixed together with the religious images, while the quick-cutting camera work fits the sonic overload of the track perfectly.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Badmotorfinger 1991 A&M / Universal 6:27
Badmotorfinger/SOMMS (Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas) 1992 A&M 5:50
Kerrang!: The Album 1994
Various Artists
Alex 5:51
S.F.W. 1995
Original Soundtrack
A&M 5:51
A-Sides 1997 Polydor / Universal Music 5:51
Rockopilatorio 2007
Various Artists
Def Jam / Digital / Island / Island/Def Jam / Universal / Universal Music 5:51
Telephantasm 2010 A&M
Live on I-5 2011 Strategic Marketing / Universal Music 6:24
The Classic Album Selection 2012 Geffen / Universal Music 5:50
5 Classic Albums 2013 A&M 6:23
In & Out of the Cage 2016 Hobo 5:58
Hard 'n' Heavy: 20 Hard Rock Classics
Various Artists
Spectrum Music / Universal 5:50
No Image Universal
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