My Wave

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"My Wave"
Soundgarden - My Wave.jpg
Single by Soundgarden
from the album Superunknown
ReleasedOctober 1994
RecordedJuly–September 1993 at Bad Animals Studio, Seattle
GenreAlternative rock, grunge
Soundgarden singles chronology
"Black Hole Sun"
"My Wave"
"Fell on Black Days"

"My Wave" is a song by the American rock band Soundgarden. Featuring lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music co-written by Cornell and guitarist Kim Thayil, "My Wave" was released in 1994 as the fourth single from the band's fourth studio album, Superunknown (1994). The song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.


"My Wave" features lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music co-written by Cornell and guitarist Kim Thayil. The tuning, as with many Soundgarden songs is unorthodox—E-E-B-B-B-B.[1] The song is in the keys of E minor and B mixolydian.[1] The song also features the use of a bass wah pedal by Ben Shepherd. "My Wave" as a musical piece is very typical of Soundgarden's style. Predominantly in 5/4, a particularly irregular time signature for rock music, the song changes, intersperses and juxtaposes time signatures freely. The effect created is both authoritatively erratic and characteristic of the band, even classically so. 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]

Release and reception[edit]

"My Wave" peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 18 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Outside the United States, the single was released commercially in Australia. In Canada, the song reached the top 70 on the Canadian Singles Chart.

Jon Pareles of The New York Times said, "Amid its warring left- and right-channel guitars, "My Wave" includes a drum break harking back to Abbey Road."[2] In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said while Soundgarden had emulated Led Zeppelin in their music, "Zep never reached out like Cornell in 'My Wave'", citing the lyric, "Cry, if you want to cry/If it helps you see/If it clears your eyes/Hate, if you want to hate/If it keeps you safe/If it makes you brave."[3]

"My Wave" appeared in the trailer for the 1994 film, The Endless Summer II. The song is featured on the soundtrack for the 2004 film, Riding Giants. It later appeared in a 2007 advertisement for the sixth season of the popular television series, 24.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "My Wave" was co-directed by Henry Shepherd (bassist Ben Shepherd's brother), who would later direct the international version of the music video for "Pretty Noose", and Doug Pray.[4][5] The video largely consists of performance footage of the band filmed in Calgary, Alberta on August 11, 1994, at Max Bell Arena. It also features scenes of a child riding his bicycle around a city. The video was released in October 1994.[5] MTV decided not to put the video into its rotation.[4] It is available on the CD-ROM Alive in the Superunknown.

Live performances[edit]

Live performances of "My Wave" can be found on the "Black Hole Sun", "My Wave", and "Fell on Black Days" singles.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Chris Cornell and Kim Thayil, except where noted:

Promotional CD (US)
  1. "My Wave" – 5:12
CD (Australia)
  1. "My Wave" – 5:12
  2. "Spoonman" (Steve Fisk remix) (Cornell) – 6:55
  3. "Birth Ritual" (demo) (Cornell, Matt Cameron, Thayil) – 5:50
  4. "My Wave" (live) – 4:34

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1994–1995) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[6] 50
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[7] 66
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[8] 46
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[9] 11
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[10] 18


  1. ^ a b c Rotondi, James. "Alone in the Superunknown." Guitar Player. June 1994.
  2. ^ Pareles, Jon. "RECORDINGS VIEW; Lightening Up On the Gloom In Grunge". The New York Times. March 6, 1994. Retrieved on March 23, 2008.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (April 5, 1994). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Cross, Charles R. "Soundgarden: The Home Team Wins the World Series". The Rocket. December 21, 1994.
  5. ^ a b "Soundgarden music videos". Music Video Database. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  6. ^ " – Soundgarden – My Wave". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2676." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  8. ^ " – Soundgarden – My Wave". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  9. ^ "Soundgarden Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  10. ^ "Soundgarden Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2016.

External links[edit]