If you’re like me and loved both Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, you were super-sad when those bands split up. But, when Soundgarden’s singer, The Voice himself – Chris Cornell, joined Rage members Tom Morello (guitar), Brad Wilk (drums), and Tim Commerford (bass) to form the supergroup Audioslave, I was elated.
This band took the talents of these members and made some unique and memorable music. Cornell’s voice with an awesome rhythm section and the experimental guitar sounds of Morello was a combination never heard before.
They put out three albums over a 6-year period and released over a dozen singles before Cornell left the band in 2007, and they split up. So, what are the top 10 Audioslave songs of all time? Let’s get to it.
Top 22 Audioslave Songs
Like a Stone (2002)
The first album this band, no, supergroup, put out was the self-titled full-length Audioslave in 2002. This record was a big deal. It was nominated for a Grammy award, spawned five hot singles, and eventually was certified triple-platinum, selling over three million copies.
“Like a Stone” is the most memorable track from this record. It was also nominated for a Grammy and is widely considered Audioslave’s best song.
This track has a solid beat and deep bassline that holds it down, deep and dark. Morello bashes heavy vibrato notes and chords throughout. Cornell’s vocals are dark and brooding. He doesn’t quite show off his whole range here but does showcase his power. And Morello provides one of his most inventive solos ever in this song, producing sounds you’d never believe were from a guitar.
This song is about death and the afterlife…
And the lyrics are dark, which is pretty usual for Cornell. He sings lines like “On a cobweb afternoon – In a room full of emptiness – By a freeway I confess – I was lost in the pages – Of a book full of death,” and you get a feeling of foreboding and melancholy that’s pretty easy to relate to.
Show Me How to Live (2002)
This next song was the third single from the 2002 self-titled album. It did very well in the mainstream and Alternative Rock charts, getting close to #1. This is also one of their fan favorites, and I think it may be the greatest Audioslave song.
The music is very reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine. There’s a heavy beat here that is reinforced by the chugging bass. Morello plays palm-muted chords in the verses, then lets loose with a full sound in the chorus, where the beat explodes and hits hard. Cornell sings nicely and controlled through the verses, then wails in the chorus.
This is a wicked song to sing along to, though you’ll never get that Chris Cornell sound. Oh well, you can still try. “Nail in my hand – From my creator – You gave me life – Now show me how to live.”
I Am the Highway (2002)
“I Am the Highway” was the fourth single released from the Audioslave self-titled album. This is a deep song full of meaning for Cornell and the band as well.
While the record version is full and Rock-based, he would also play the song at concerts just on acoustic guitar to lower the energy and make it even more personal. On the album, the music is intense but slow and almost menacing – you can feel the restraint they have in creating this powerful but slow ballad.
This song is about Cornell’s difficult relationship with fame and his search for experience and a deeper purpose. He sings, “I am not your rolling wheels – I am the highway – I am not your carpet ride – I am the sky,” to get this point across beautifully. Furthermore, this was the song played at his funeral.
“Cochise” was the first single off the Audioslave record and was released as a teaser for it a couple of months before. This song is still a big fan favorite. It starts the album with a slow burn, then the beat drops, and it hits hard and heavy. The drums and bass are perfectly coordinated here, bringing huge energy.
Morello plays a cool riff through the verses and a heavy one in the chorus. He also plays out the choruses with weird and wonderful effects-heavy sounds. Cornell’s voice is strong and hits hard on this track. He hits the chorus – “Go on and save yourself – And take it out on me” – heavy and really wails. And, after the last verse, he lets out a scream that’s pained and full of energy.
Shadow On The Sun (2002)
The last song on my list of Audioslave’s Top 10 songs from the album, Audioslave, is “Shadow On The Sun.” This song is one of my favorites, largely because of the rhythm section.
Wilk plays a really cool beat in the verses and hits hard in the chorus. Commerford’s low and distorted bass is the perfect complement, making this rhythm really kick. All this allows Tom Morello to really get experimental with his guitar. He goes on a rampage in the middle of this song and creates one of the weirdest and yet most beautiful guitar solos I’ve ever heard.
This song alternates from quieter, soulful verses to a heavier, soaring chorus. His voice gets to all ends of his range, pulling tight on the lower register and flying up to the high notes.
And his screamy outro is blistering…
This song has a dark message about harmful relationships. Cornell sings, “And I can tell you why – People die alone – I can tell you I’m – A shadow on the sun,” and you can feel the self-disgust here so poignantly.
Be Yourself (2005)
The new super-band was a big hit and went out touring extensively after their first album. But, two and a half years later, in 2005, they released their second full-length album, Out of Exile. Although they had recorded more, the band pared this down to just 12 songs they thought were the most powerful. And the most powerful of all had to be “Be Yourself.”
The name of this song tells a story in and of itself. Unlike so many of his songs, Cornell’s lyrics here are largely positive. I mean, yes, this song has a dark side, but the message is clear – “To be yourself is all that you can do.” And, whatever happens, you have to accept it. He also tells you, “Don’t lose any sleep tonight – I’m sure everything will end up alright,” which is so unexpectedly positive for this singer.
The song has a slower, throbbing beat and a sort of Hard Rock vibe injected with Pop. But Morello still manages to add a whole lot of texture to this song with his unique guitar genius.
Doesn’t Remind Me (2005)
This next song also came from Out of Exile, but it was something new and unexpected for this band. “Doesn’t Remind Me” has an almost Folk-Rock verse that reminds me of Temple of the Dog and early Soundgarden.
The beat is drum-heavy and almost tribal but then explodes as the chorus comes along and hits hard. There’s also a quieter and slower bridge that Cornell sings sweetly over. And, of course, there’s a spot for Morello to shred here, playing a flaming solo with a wah-wah pedal to make it unusual.
Together, this gives the song a whole lot of texture and makes it one of the band’s best and prettiest songs ever!
#1 Zero (2005)
Out of Exile had one more trick up its sleeve. “#1 Zero” is the next-to-last track on the album, but I think it’s one of the most interesting. This song has an excellent slow groove driving it. Morello makes some beautiful, if dark, sounds throughout the first part to give it a sort of haunted feeling.
But halfway through, the song gets heavier and much more intense. Cornell lets loose, and Morello starts to rip through a solo to drive the song upwards and onwards. Lyrically, the song is about a relationship where one person will do anything for the other. It ends with the fitting lines, “I will be the bird in your straw – But you won’t get far – I will keep you in the corner of my eye.”
Original Fire (2006)
Audioslave’s first album was huge. The second was well enough received, and the third didn’t do so well. But 2006’s Revelations still has some great songs on it. While the title track was the best-performing single from the album, most fans prefer “Original Fire.” This was the first single from the album, and it’s a very interesting and different song for Audioslave.
This song is a Funk and Soul-influenced rocker. It has a bouncy energy that is very unusual for this band, but it still works. The chorus – “The original fire has died and gone – But the riot inside moves on” – is bright and boisterous, and Cornell’s voice works perfectly here, especially when he wails. And Morello does some weird noises to also give this song the Audioslave stamp of approval.
Nothing Left to Say But Goodbye (2006)
“Nothing Left to Say But Goodbye” is the last great song on this list of the Top 10 Audioslave songs. It’s also probably the saddest Audioslave song. The song itself has a dark side but an ultimately positive message about being saved by a loving relationship. It’s just that there is a very dark irony here when you know of Cornell’s demise.
Even though he sings, “I’ve been chased by a rain cloud – I was lost and nearly drowned and kicked around – But now I’m found and – I won’t run away,” in the end, he did.
This song is a heavy, slow burn. The music is powerful and passionate and is one of the best combinations of the band’s playing and Cornell’s voice working perfectly together.
Set It Off (2002)
The Last Remaining Light (2002)
Your Time Has Come (2005)
Out of Exile (2005)
Heaven’s Dead (2005)
Wide Awake (2005)
One and the Same (2006)
Broken City (2006)
Jewel of the Summertime (2006)
Original Fire (Acoustic Version) (2006)
Shape of Things to Come (2007)
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Top 22 Audioslave Songs of All Time – Final Thoughts
Audioslave was a real supergroup. A combination of already very successful musicians came together to make a great new sound. The Rage boys brought an incredible sense of deep rhythm and guitar wizardry. Chris Cornell brought his poetic lyrics and superhuman voice. Together, this band produced three excellent albums in the six years they were together.
Do you have the same favorite Audioslave songs as me? While these aren’t necessarily all the best-charting songs the band released, I think I’ve picked out the tunes that define the group. They had a great range and weren’t afraid to keep experimenting with their sound and songwriting over their short but successful run.
If you have more songs that you think should be on the list, let us know what they are in the comments below.
Until next time, happy listening.