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Is “The Day I Tried to Live” on Superunknown a heroin song?
No, I don’t have any heroin songs. 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 get 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.

~Chris Cornell, 1964-2017

Chris Cornell: The Rolling Stone Interview, by Alec Foege, December 29, 1994