I love Chris Cornell. I think he’s one of the most capable singer/songwriters ever, and he was a driving force behind what was probably the greatest American rock band of all time; Soundgarden. These facts made it all the more heartbreaking when I realized I hated his new album so much, and that it would probably get the most brutal review I could ever give an album. Luckily, I gave the album another couple of spins before writing it.
Do I love this record? No. Will most long-time Chris Cornell fans love this record? I seriously doubt it. I started feeling nervous about this album months ago when I learned that he had made an entire album with Timbaland. Having heard it, it’s pretty close to what I had imagined. Take everything you’ve known Chris to do in Soundgarden, Audioslave, and his previous solo work, and forget it. This could not be farther away from that. Imagine that Timbaland went about producing a record just the same way he does for Justin Timberlake, and had Chris Cornell sing on it. No shit, that’s what this is.
Under no circumstances do I approve of this musical direction for Chris Cornell. Having said that, both Chris and Tim are very good at what they do. In reality, it’s a fine album. There are good songs, and the production is certainly up to par within the genre. If this were a debut album by some R&B crooning white boy named Chris Cornell, it wouldn’t seem unusual at all. It’s his history that makes this thing so damn confusing. It’ll get some spins, but hopefully he doesn’t waste time in making another album, and it had better sound more like Euphoria Morning or Seasons.
There’s some additional discussion about this review over here.