The song Soundgarden used to parody the stupid side of rock

Pretty much every band to come out of the Seattle grunge scene had been influenced by Soundgarden in some fashion. They were one of the first bands in the door, having formed a solid decade before the Seattle scene reached its peak in popularity. Original bassist Hiro Yamamoto was roommates with Sub Pop Records founder Bruce Pavitt, and when it came time to release their debut EP Screaming Life, Sub Pop was the label that put it out.

This is all to say that, had you been a musician around Seattle before grunge went mainstream, you definitely knew of and probably had heard Soundgarden before. The band set the precedent for a number of their acolytes, including being the first act to sign to a major record album, A&M Records. But Soundgarden wasn’t about to sell out to the corporate rock stooges, and they had a song that perfectly laid out what they thought about the mainstream rock world.

‘Big Dumb Sex’ is perhaps the least subtle and nuanced song that Soundgarden ever released. On an album where the group finally found their feet, playing with detuned riffs, odd time signatures, and choppy grooves, ‘Big Dumb Sex’ included exactly none of those elements. And for good reason too: it was meant to be a parody of hair metal bands.

“We thought we’ll ditch all the euphemisms and say what all the disco dance bands had been trying to say for a decade,” guitarist Kim Thayil claimed. “It’s a parody of the whole genre of stupid rock.”

Chris Cornell goes full goofball on the track, spitting out “fuck” 35 different times throughout the song. It wouldn’t be the last time that Soundgarden took aim at what they saw as posturing wannabes: 1991’s ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ had its origins in Cornell’s own personal distaste of Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Ferrell.

“You just see it a lot with really beautiful people, or famous people, exploiting that symbol as to imply that they’re either a deity or persecuted somehow by their public,” Cornell told Spin in 1992. “So it’s pretty much a song that is nonreligious but expressing being irritated by seeing that. It’s not that I would ever be offended by what someone would do with that symbol.”

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