Sunday, January 22, 2012


I saw Chris Cornell on his solo tour last year, and was blown away, so I was glad when I heard he was putting out a live Songbook album. Like Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell is making a good case for having parallel careers with a band, and as a solo acoustic troubadour.

The album starts and ends with brand new songs that he hadn't released before this. The first two tracks "As Hope And Promise Fade" and "Scar On The Sky" show that he still has lots of great songs in him. It's hard to imagine Soundgarden (or even Audioslave) doing "As Hope And Promise Fade." I would imagine this is the direction his solo career will go in.  He sings really honestly about some of his issues.  The line "You're never more than two drinks away from crying" kills me. "Scar On The Sky" sounds like it could be a classic Soundgarden slow tune. I just wonder: can he still write rockers?

The LP ends with "The Keeper," a studio track (not from the live performances) that he recorded for the film Machine Gun Preacher. It's an amazing song (I haven't seen the film) that somehow lost to Madonna's "Masterpiece" (cough) from a film she directed W.E. I like Madonna, but Chris's song is way better (and so is Mary J. Blige's "The Living Proof" from The Help).

Back to Songbook: most of the album is solo versions of Chris' songs from Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple Of The Dog and his solo records. He does great versions of these classics.  Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and "Fell On Black Days" sound even more black, and the Audioslave tunes are just as soulful, stripped of their (amazing, face-melting) arrangements.  I love "Doesn't Remind Me" and "Like A Stone." Of course, the Temple songs are incredible. And the album points out that Chris has had some great solo songs - and (sorry) that maybe his much-mocked Scream album would have been better with a producer other than Timbaland. I love lots of records that Timba has worked on, but I just don't think that that combo worked. Maybe someone like Flood or Danger Mouse could do a great, modern-sounding Chris solo record.

My only "complaint?"  Well, I would have loved to hear the Bruce Springsteen covers that Chris performed when I saw him: "Atlantic City" and "State Trooper." And the "bonus tracks" on the album are "different" versions of "As Hope And Promise Fade" and "Call Me A Dog," that aren't much different from the non-bonus track versions of those same songs, on this same album. But I'm not a negative guy, so I'll just hope for a Songbook Vol. 2.  But let's get that new Soundgarden record first!

1 comment:

Calogero said...

This album is new to me, thanks a lot.