Chris Cornell's second solo album, was released on May 28, 2007, and it's just the time to tell you about the reasons that made Cornell grow up and "Carry On".
The album's story begins at the twilight stage of Cornell's previous successful relationship with Audioslave, following the recording of the September 2006 album "Revelations". Under these circumstances, Cornell began working on "Carry On" and the theme song for the James Bond film "You Know My Name", while the rest of the band resorted to planning the reunion of "Rage Against The Machine", which took place in February 2007.
On February 15, 2007, Chris officially announced that he was leaving "Audioslave", when the official reason given for the separation was "disagreements and musical inconsistencies". We later discovered that although outwardly the band broadcast that the album "Revelations" was an album that connected "Audioslave" as a band that shoots, writes, and gets its unique tone and DNA, they have disintegrated from within. We will not go into the details of the dissolution of "Audioslave", because we did come to tell about an album by our dear Crisco, but we will only say that the disputes were probably mainly about the business conduct between Chris and the rest of the band. Chris claimed everything had become calculated, for every little thing he wanted to do he had to negotiate as if he was under a monthly paycheck and not a partner. This is what probably broke him. He did not even officially announce to the other members about his departure, he simply decided to "move on" and re-cultivate his solo career.
Just three months after "Audioslave" announces the cessation of its activities, Cornell released this album we review. The proximity of the times indicates that Cornell probably intended that a significant portion of the songs on this album would be included in the next "Audioslave" album, if it did come out, but he was forced to use them as part of the solo album.
(Photo: Max Vadukul)
Listening to this album might explain the possible reason for those disagreements on "Audioslave", as it is a very diverse album (even too diverse), both musically and in terms of lyrics. This is also probably one of its major drawbacks, as it feels like an album lacking a uniform musical line. It sounds more like a compilation album than a whole album, and it is very difficult to treat it as a whole. We will add and say that in our humble opinion it is easier to listen to each song separately than to the whole album from beginning to end. Even the album cover broadcasts a "compilation album." The list of songs on the top left of the front cover is reserved for compilation albums from the 1970s in which they would present the "hits" on the front of the album, for all to see.
This album has a bit of every era in Cornell's musical career. From "Soundgarden", through "Euphoria Morning" to "Audioslave". But the amazing thing is that you can even hear parts of how Cornell is going to sound in the future. This is reflected, among other things, by the drum machine in the song "Killing Birds" that beckons to the album "Scream".
We said excess diversity, so it probably also stems from the fact that the songs in it were originally intended for different projects and not for one complete and perfect album.
Here's the mighty "You Know My Name" written especially for the "James Bond Casino Royale", which came out in 2006. The song includes a string accompaniment and is wrapped in a bombastic production reserved for the "Big Band" as required by Bond theme movies, so even though it is mighty in itself, it sounds detached and different from the rest of the album.
The diversity continues with the cover version of Michael Jackson's song "Billie Jean", which Cornell took from the acoustic show he held on September 7, 2006, in Stockholm, Sweden, which was later unofficially released on a disc called "Chris Cornell: Unplugged in Sweden". Cornell's unplugged rendition of the song sounds more natural, real, exciting, and flowing than the album version that sounds a bit "stressed".
The versatility continues with a collection of songs that Cornell seems to have written for "Audioslave", thinking the band will continue even after the third album. Songs like "No Such Thing" and "Your Soul Today," which sound like songs that could fit that formidable supergroup. Even listening to the psychedelic solo in the song "Poison Eye" and imagining it performed by Tom Morello and you will understand how right we are.
And of course, this album features a collection of songs that Cornell wrote with the solo project in mind.
Songs like "Arms Around Your Love", "Scar on the Sky" and, "Disappearing Act" definitely sounds like that. A sort of combination of Chris' 1999 model of "Euphoria Morning" to Chris's "The Next Generation" of "Higher Truth".
And from here we come to the second downside of this album, which is the number of songs. Cornell's desire to showcase his versatility and show how prolific he is outside of "Audioslave" and "Soundgarden", too, has led him to unleash the entire vast arsenal of songs he has written for various projects, without pre-screening and editing. If Cornell had done such filtering and editing, for example, if he had released 10 songs with the same tone and musical direction in favor of the specific album, this album could have even equaled his level to Cornell's first solo album. We must regret the lack of filtering and early calculation of the nature of the songs they will choose for the album, because it greatly detracts from the enjoyment of this album as a whole and we are forced to treat it as a compilation album as opposed to one perfect work.
And one more point for thought. Chris Cornell is an amazing singer, he's one of Rock's greatest voices. His voice can penetrate the heart and catheterize it, mix the soul and heal it. Inexplicably some of the songs on the album make us feel that Cornell is not making the best use of his voice here. There are moments in the album where we feel that Cornell's voice is trapped within the songs which do not allow him to let go and present his full potential. At times it seems that some of the songs here lead Cornell instead of Cornell pushing them forward.
At the same time, this is an album that features some of Cornell's most beautiful songs. A collection of pearls that complete a luxurious necklace by one of the greatest artists of our generation.
And it is impossible to end this review without "The Israeli Spot". This album also includes a little Israeli pride. Drummer Nir Zedekiah is the drummer with whom Cornell decided to record the album, and he is the only member among the large collection of musicians who accompanied Cornell, who participates in all 14 songs on the album. Nir has an impressive record of recording nationalist drums like Genesis, John Mayer, Flaw, and many others.