Monday, April 6, 2009

Chris Cornell, the new material & Timbaland – My thoughts

You can’t blame any band/artist for wanting to expand or experiment. Any true music fan can or, rather, should respect an artist’s yearning for evolution. Countless bands have done it – it can be a make or break situation. Kiss went disco with Dynasty and were labelled sell-outs, Metallica dropped Kirk Hammett’s leads and were accused of abandoning their roots.

So, when news surfaced that Chris Cornell was to have mega star knob twister Timbaland produce his latest solo album Scream, mixed opinions from die hard fans and the not so impassioned fans were ten a penny.

Now, personally I was disappointed upon hearing this and somewhat angry. I’ve always been a fan of Soundgarden and I quite liked Audioslave and his other solo work. I’ve listened to a lot of the new material from Scream and to someone who hadn’t read anything about this they could possibly tell that it was produced by Timbaland. That of course can be construed as a compliment to Timbaland’s work.

The lead single from the album is “Part of Me”, which you’ve probably heard already. It’s also the opening track of the record. The opening track of any album is vital to setting a tone and here “Part of Me” is an unashamed pop debacle and unfortunately that’s the tone set. Sounding
like any watered down, easily digestible radio hit; “Part of Me” will undoubtedly fill the dance floors of clubs with mindless drones who just love something to shake their hips to. It’s almost painful to say such things about Cornell, a man I have so much respect for. Now, I still respect him, I just don’t respect Scream.

Like I said, “Part of Me” sets the tone; in fact it sets it for this era of Chris Cornell. Look at the title track, a slow mover but adorned with synths and other electronics. Scream rather desperately screams (see what I did there??) out for the trusty guitar! That’s needed a lot more here than a collaboration with Justin Timberlake (and I mean no disrespect to Timberlake when I say that)

That said, Cornell’s voice is still amazing, it always will be, it’s so unmistakeable. But the real fans will forever associate that voice with the likes of Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and to an extent Audioslave. The synthesizer beats and generic poppy vocals of Scream do little to ignite any worthwhile emotions. He has carelessly dumbed himself down and disrespected his own legend.

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