Chris Cornell - Scream
Craig Broad 22/04/2009
Chris Cornell, was made famous by the inception of Soundgarden who during their thirteen-year career were one of the success stories of the Seattle grunge scene selling an estimated twenty million albums worldwide. He then made an even bigger impression with three time Grammy nominees Audioslave, a band created with members of popular political band, Rage Against The Machine. That aside, Chris Cornell is not currently highly respected or commercially celebrated for his solo work with 'Euphoria Morning' deemed commercially unsuccessful and 'Carry On' receiving mixed reviews at best. So it is a potential case of third time lucky with Cornell looking to latest album 'Scream' to change his solo fortunes.
And change does seem to be the most fitting word to describe 'Scream' with Cornell's history seemingly thrown away in favour for a new sound. Production from Timbaland has encouraged guitars to be put on the back burner for a sound littered with a busy drum machine and samples that you would be more likely to hear in songs from Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado than from songs in the alternative rock world let alone any musical project Cornell has touched previously.
But is this a positive change or an uncomfortable one?
It's so difficult to be down right negative about an album but on 'Scream', Chris Cornell really has sold himself short. An artist who will be remembered and recognised for his distinctive vocals, has with 'Scream' created an album that quite frankly doesn't suit his style and comes across as emotionally cold at best with few standout moments, especially vocally and lyrically. On the occasional moment that you do feel some form of attention warming towards 'Scream' it is due to hearing a guitar but that it only highlights how condensed the beats are within a track and makes the music even more uncomfortable to listen to. The problem with 'Scream' is obvious, it is neither a hip-hop or rock album, instead it tries to blur the lines of genre to potentially become revolutionary and despite this aspect alone causing the need to feel some form of respect for Cornell this is where he fails. 'Scream' contains neither good rock or hip hop moments and while with Soundgarden and Audioslave, Cornell created music that has at least managed to lodge its way in your brain and Timbaland has forged a reputation for achieving the same hit factor, shamefully, none of the songs on 'Scream' contain any memorable hook, whether vocally or instrumentally and even the "standout" song, single 'Long Gone' is at best, an annoying lacklustre b-sides from other artists Timbaland has produced.
'Scream' is definitely not third time lucky for Cornell and while moving away from his guitar driven past and hiring a well-respected hip-hop producer was a hugely brave move, it is one that hasn't paid off at all and just proves that if a song isn't good it doesn't matter how you dress it stylistically. Although, Chris Cornell did get one thing right with 'Scream', the album title, "Scream", you'll be screaming to have it turned off.