Rock bands have always sparked controversy through their lyrical content and very often, it is due to some sort of religious reference or attack. Alternative grunge band Soundgarden was one such band. In 1991, Soundgarden released “Jesus Christ Pose” as their first single off of their album Badmotorfinger which upset people immediately after its release. Right when it came out, MTV banned the music video which brought lots of attention to the song. Many people started calling the song anti-Christian and it got to a point where Soundgarden received death threats while on tour.
Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, has stated that “Jesus Christ Pose” has nothing really to do with religion and that is about people who exploiting the symbol of Jesus and the cross. Through the song, it is about someone who feels like Cornell is persecuting and “crucifying” him while he is in his Jesus Christ Pose. It seems to be pretty clear that Cornell’s song is about people trying to take on a Jesus like situation to become a sort of deity. Cornell is saying is his song that celebrities and public figures use the image of the crucified Christ to seem oppressed and to give themselves a “martyr” aspect to them that would make them in a way cool or more attractive. In Cornell’s own words, “that song was based entirely on seeing rock stars like Perry Farrell or some top model doing these photo shoots where they were the Christ figure with this stupid-ass crown of thorns and their arms out. It became fashionable to be the sort of persecuted-deity guy”.
All in all, “Jesus Christ Pose” really does not seem to have any sacrilegious lyrics or content (the music video on the other hand is a little bit more debatable), but I cannot help but think what kind of reaction Soundgarden expected while releasing the song. The name of the song seems potentially offensive by itself. Many rock artists tend to do this. They release something that seems offensive on the surface but a closer look always shows the opposite. I suppose it is a rather good way to bring about media attention though.