The Day I Tried to Live

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"The Day I Tried to Live"
Single by Soundgarden
from the album Superunknown
B-side "Like Suicide" (acoustic) / "Kickstand" (live)
Released 1994
Format CD single, Cassette, Vinyl
Recorded July–September 1993 at Bad Animals Studio, Seattle, Washington
Length 5:19
Label A&M
Writer(s) Chris Cornell
Producer(s) Michael Beinhorn, Soundgarden
Soundgarden singles chronology
"Spoonman"
(1994)
"The Day I Tried to Live"
(1994)
"Black Hole Sun"
(1994)
Superunknown track listing
"Limo Wreck"
(Track 9)
"The Day I Tried to Live"
(Track 10)
"Kickstand"
(Track 11)

"The Day I Tried to Live" is a song by the American grunge band Soundgarden. Written by frontman Chris Cornell, "The Day I Tried to Live" was released in 1994 as the second single from the band's fourth studio album, Superunknown (1994). The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 25 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song was included on Soundgarden's 1997 greatest hits album, A-Sides.

Composition[edit]

"The Day I Tried to Live" was written by frontman Chris Cornell. The tuning, as with many Soundgarden songs is unorthodox—E-E-B-B-B-B.[1] The song has a dissonant atmosphere and is also notable for its use of time signatures. For much of the song, there is a cycle of one measure of 7/4, then two of 4/4. Guitarist Kim Thayil has said that Soundgarden usually did not consider the time signature of a song until after the band had written it, and said that the use of odd meters was "a total accident."[1]

Lyrics[edit]

Cornell on "The Day I Tried to Live":

It's about trying to step out of being patterned and closed off and reclusive, which I've always had a problem with. It's about attempting to be normal and just go out and be around other people and hang out. I have a tendency to sometimes be pretty closed off and not see people for long periods of time and not call anyone. It's actually, in a way, a hopeful song. Especially the lines "One more time around/Might do it," which is basically saying, 'I tried today to understand and belong and get along with other people, and I failed, but I'll probably try again tomorrow.' A lot of people misinterpreted that song as a suicide-note song. Taking the word "live" too literally. "The Day I Tried to Live" means more like the day I actually tried to open up myself and experience everything that's going on around me as opposed to blowing it all off and hiding in a cave.[2]

Release and reception[edit]

"The Day I Tried to Live" was released as a single in 1994, but was rather underpromoted when compared to "Spoonman" or "Black Hole Sun". The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 25 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Outside the United States, the single was released in Spain and the United Kingdom. In Canada, "The Day I Tried to Live" charted on the Alternative Top 30 chart where it peaked at number 27 and stayed there for two weeks.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "The Day I Tried to Live" was directed by Matt Mahurin.[3] The video features a man apparently dressed as a hospital patient floating around a bedroom and appearing alone and dazed in various city scenes. It also features the band performing the song in a boiler room. After the first chorus, the band members are shown with their instruments ablaze. The video was released in April 1994.[3] The video is available on the CD-ROM Alive in the Superunknown.

Cover versions[edit]

"The Day I Tried to Live" was covered by Between the Buried and Me on the band's 2006 album, The Anatomy Of.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Chris Cornell, except where noted:

Promotional CD (US), CD (UK), and 12" Vinyl (UK)
  1. "The Day I Tried to Live" – 5:20
  2. "Like Suicide" (acoustic) – 6:12
  3. "Kickstand" (live) (Cornell, Kim Thayil) – 1:58
Promotional CD (Spain)
  1. "The Day I Tried to Live" – 5:20
  2. "Limo Wreck" (Matt Cameron, Cornell, Thayil) – 5:47
7" Vinyl (UK) and Cassette (UK)
  1. "The Day I Tried to Live" – 5:20
  2. "Like Suicide" (acoustic) – 6:12
Promotional 12" Vinyl (US)
  1. "The Day I Tried to Live" – 5:20
Promotional 12" Vinyl (UK)
  1. "The Day I Tried to Live" – 5:20
  2. "Like Suicide - Acoustic" – 6:12
  3. "Kickstand - Live" – 1:58

note: etched vinyl + Superunknown stencil

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1994) Position
UK Singles Chart[4] 42
Chart (1995) Position
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[5] 13
US Modern Rock Tracks[5] 25
Canadian RPM Alternative 30[6] 27

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rotondi, James. "Alone in the Superunknown." Guitar Player. June 1994.
  2. ^ Foege, Alec. "The End of Innocence". Rolling Stone. January 12, 1995.
  3. ^ a b "Soundgarden music videos". Music Video Database. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  4. ^ "EveryHit.com". Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  5. ^ a b "Soundgarden Artist Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  6. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 61, No. 19, June 11, 1995". RPM. Retrieved 2007-12-08.