I remember being in college and seeing the Black Hole Sun video on television and thinking it was the weirdest thing I'd ever seen. Disturbing, actually. And I still think that. But there's no denying the appeal of the music. The Superunknown album--and the bulk of grunge music, to be honest--was dark and depressing and full of angst at a Baby Boomer world that hadn't left much room for Generation X. And that was why we liked it. It struck a chord in our souls that the rock and metal music of the 1980's did not. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but as the years have gone on, it's grown on me.
Cornell's voice was fantastic and distinctive, one of the best in rock history. He was the first male American to do a James Bond theme song. His cover of Billie Jean is haunting and completely non-pop, making it very different from the source material.
Here's Chris Jericho discussing his death:
Cornell had long suffered from depression and substance abuse, and it's a shame his demons finally got the best of him. But we still have the music.
R.I.P., Mr. Cornell. :(