Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Black Hole Sun

Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” is a Sadistic, though somewhat nostalgic nod to youth-hood in middle America. The video opens with views of desert and scorching sun that turn into the “rolling hills” of suburbia. A group of demented proselytizers trek over a flowering field that resembles a scene from Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, approaching the camera with a sign reading “The End is Nigh”. This cuts to scenes of aging, caucasian, suburbanites primarily (though some of the neighborhood children), in their yards and homes, as their faces morph into caricatures and their conduct becomes more and more overtly perverse.

The lyrics are well-matched to the imagery. Chris Cornell’s words imply that beneath the cookie-cutter veneer of middle America lies an ugly reality:

“In my eyes, in disposed,
In disguise:as no one knows
Hides the face Lies
The snake, the sun
In my disgrace”

The song serves as both a pointing of fingers and as a confessional. Much as the imagery of the music video subverts the expectation of happiness in the American home, The sun is a double entendre for The Son, whom Soundgarden suggests is the real face of Evil. In their angst-ridden tale of growing up in Suburbia, the band invokes The End in an adolescent melodrama of meaningless imagery and special effects.

“Black hole sun
Won't you come
And wash away the rain”