7/21/2008

New Damage


Chris Cornell in his Soundgarden days. Photo courtesy of Stereogum.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Following Soundgarden's dissolution, Euphoria Morning (A&M-1999), the solo debut by Chris Cornell was undoubtedly a highly-anticipated affair. And 'round these parts it didn't disappoint. (Those that were expecting something else were clearly not paying attention to a new direction Cornell was hinting at on the final Soundgarden releases. Or his songwriting on the Temple of the Dog album, for that matter.) After his three-album stint in Audioslave, alongside the instrumental members of Rage Against the Machine, Cornell chose to reward those of us patiently waiting for a followup to Euphoria with last year's Carry On, a lackluster release, which included an uninspired cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" that would portend even more dire musical consequences.


Many an eyebrow was arched when Cornell announced he had teamed up with r&b producer Timbaland for album number three. (Timbaland's widely reported assertion that the album would make the former Soundgarden frontman the "first rock star in the [urban night] clubs" didn't help things, either.) Well, if first single "Long Gone" is any indication, our worst fears have come to fruition. The man who once belted "Outshined" and "The Day I Tried to Live" has been transformed into...Seal. (Nothing against Seal, but c'mon.)

Now, we're not arguing against an artist's desires to explore new things and possibly reinvent themselves, or even refusing to wean ourselves off the nostalgia train, but...man, this is disappointing. Listen to "Long Gone" here and decide for yourself.

By the way, Cornell is touring with Linkin Park this summer--is he trying to go through with a deathwish or just looking to squander all the accumulated goodwill that's come his way over the years?--and it should be interesting to see if he'll be playing this newfangled material for that crowd. And what they would make of it.

Pass.

8 comments:

H said...

In all fairness, the only person who I hear is a bit ambivalent about Tim producing Cornell is you...

I'm eager to hear what they come up with.

Kiko Jones said...

Fair enough. But I would bet you haven't been hearing any positive anticipation from any Cornell fans. (I've spoken to a few and they're not happy.) Click on the link and hear for yourself.

H said...

Cornell has fans?

Yikes

Teethwriter said...

I tried to listen to 'Long Gone' but it was too awful to get through. The story of "whatever happened to Chris Cornell" continues...

H said...

Thank you.

Kiko Jones said...

Um, H? Teethwriter isn't agreeing with you. I'm pretty sure he was not "eager to hear" the results of that pairing. And now that he has...

H said...

My bad on not updating you on my feelings regarding the track...aside from how much the song sucks, and it sucks because Cornell is not Justin T...(and you know it...because Cornell has no biz going down that alley) I didn't think he had any fans.

I don't know how much Cornell can grab fans away of his projects like Roger Plant has done, for example.

Kiko Jones said...

C'mon man, of course he has fans. You don't remain on a major label in this sorry climate without a following, and you know it. With his first album, Cornell did take many of us who followed Soundgarden along with him. But 8 years later he released a weak follow-up and now this. That does not help, one bit.

Oh, and regardless of how you meant it, in my book, "Cornell is not Justin T" is a compliment of the highest order. In more ways than one.

(If JT can get as much tail when he's 44 as Cornell can now, we'll talk.)