On September 21, 1999, Chris Cornell's first solo album, "Euphoria Morning", was released.
This is an album that captures Chris Cornell during a downturn, one of many he had. Cornell, who was "in the eye storm" of the Grunge scene and was one of its mainstays for over a decade, decides in 1997 to disband "Soundgarden" - the band that was a home for him for over 10 years. This happens at the end of the tour of the album "Down On the Upside" after Cornell and his friends came to the conclusion that they had reached the point of exhaustion. Cornell said that in the post-breakup period he sank into a deep depression and he thought that working on a solo album would do him good.
The content of the album certainly reflects the difficult period that Cornell went through, both in terms of lyrics and music. Cornell said in an interview he made immediately after the release of the album, that the melancholy music actually helped him feel less depressed, when he was down.
Cornell intended to call this album "Euphoria Mourning" in a way that best expresses its content, but then-director Jim Guerinot advised him to drop the "U". Eventually "Poetic Justice" was done, when in the reissue from 2015 the album got its original name, in a way that made this such a moving piece more complete and perfect.
Indeed, this album features some of the most exciting moments in Cornell's extensive career. Mainly driven by the depression and alcoholism, in which he sank after the breakup of "Soundgarden", Cornell takes us on a shaky journey of emotions and time stations, which take us just like on a roller coaster between the various moods Cornell was in, when writing the album.
Although on first play this album sounds seemingly different from the musical direction of the mother band "Soundgarden", it still meets Cornell in his comfort zone. The musical seeds of the works on this album can be found in some of Cornell's works as part of "Temple Of The Dog", in his solo song "Seasons" taken from the soundtrack of the movie "Singles" and also in "Soundgarden". Indeed, even Cornell himself noted in an interview with MTV immediately after the album's release that whoever researches the music of "Soundgarden" will find that the roots of the song "Can't Change Me" are in songs like "Blow Up the Outside World" and "Fell on Black Days ".
The album opens "Can't Change Me" with a relatively optimistic melody and with the oriental and mesmerizing guitar line, which will later also fit in with Chris Cornell's harmonica. But do not let the "cover" fool you. The song tells the story of a woman with the ability to help people, a woman who can make everything positive, but how not, unfortunately her abilities do not work on Cornell. Cornell also recorded this song in French.
The song "Flutter Girl" is a song that Cornell wrote during the making of the soundtrack of the movie "Singles" and later was an outtake from "Soundgarden"'s "Superunknown" album. The person who gave the name to the song was none other than Jeff Ament bassist of "Pearl Jam" and Cornell wrote the song and the music in a way that he thought would fit the title of the song. Here already Chris Cornell goes from hurt to hurtful, informing the protagonist of the song that his mental state is so bad that it is better for her to flutter her wings home, because it is better for her to be alone than with him. And so in the songs lyrics:
"Tonight my tears might stain your wings
So flutter home
'Cause you're better off alone than with me"
The song "Preaching the End of the World" hints at Cornell's loneliness on the inside in the face of the success and publicity seen from the outside, and when Cornell shouts that "this is just the end of the world" it is impossible not to identify with him.
The song "Moonchild" was written about Cornell's wife, Susan Silver, at the time and tells the story of how she behaves on full moon nights.
The song "Wave Goodbye" was written by Cornell about his friend singer Jeff Buckley who died in 1997, and again here the musical style does not fully teach about the verbal content. Cornell noted that during the writing of the album he was greatly influenced by Buckley's style.
We continue to move between stations and emotions of Cornell's broken voice in the songs "When I'm Down" and "Disappearing One", through the shaky "Pillow of Your Bones" until we come to an end with "Steel Rain" and Cornell's heartbreaking cries are just slicing our souls.
Here is the place to note the contribution of the duo "Eleven" members, guitarist and singer Alain Johannes and keyboardist and singer Natasha Shneider, who helped Cornell a lot in writing the songs. More of that, the two played a wide variety of instruments during recordings, guitar, bass keyboards, mandolin clarinet and more, they co-produced the album with Cornell and even donated their private studio in Los Angeles to record it. After Natasha Shneider's death in 2008, Cornell used to pay homage to her in his solo performances, playing her piano track through a turntable.
It is interesting to note that the Japanese version of the album includes a bonus track called "Sunshower" which was part of the soundtrack of the movie "Great Expectations". Also, an adaptation of the song "Mission" was part of the soundtrack of the movie "Mission Impossible 2".
Before we send you to listen to the album, we invite you to watch the last performance from the tour that accompanied the album and was held at the "House Of Blues" in Las Vegas on March 7, 2000. Watch here: