On September 18, 2015 Chris Cornell released his fourth solo album "Higher Truth", and as hard as it is for us to write thissentence, it was also his last!
This is a very moving and touching album where Chris Cornell simply put his heart and soul on a huge tray and serve it to us.
This album comes after a long cleansing process, Cornell has gone through since his previous album "Scream", which came out six years earlier. And no, we are not talking about cleansing from narcotics, but rather a musical cleansing, designed to keep him as far away as possible from that experimental adventure with Timbaland.
It started with "Songbook" which came out in 2011 and introduced us to songs from all periods and lineups of Cornell in a minimalist version and acoustic. It continued with the amazing reunion album of "Soundgarden" which came out a year later and the tour that followed. At the same time, Cornell participated in various performances and projects, including a mini-reunion show of "Temple Of The Dog" as part of Pearl Jam's "PJ20" tour and participation in the "Mad Season" reunion show. In hindsight, it seems that all that Chris Cornell has done since "Scream", was meant to prepare him for the founding moment when he will face us naked, abstract, and exposed as he is presented on this album.
Most of the songs on the album deal with heavy and deep topics, such as the meaning of life, love, and pain, loss, and hope.
The song "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart" led by Cornell's special mandolin playing, tells the story of a man who is so distracted from a new encounter that he forgets his despair and the fact that he has already given up on life. The music video of the song simply portrays Cornell as a prisoner being led to a gallows and a hanging rope is placed around his neck. A few weeks after Cornell hung himself, this video was removed from any platform.
In the song "Dead Wishes" Cornell reflects on the cruelty of time and the desire to control every second of life knowing that time will inevitably slip away. Cornell also teaches us to look at the light at the end of the tunnel when at the end of the song he declares that no matter how many times we will make him fall, he will continue to get up. And in his own words: "Come and knock me over, I'll keep getting up".
In one of the moving songs on the album "Before We Disappear" Cornell urges us to hold on to love tightly and not let go of it, but he also reminds us that life and love will not last forever. "Josephine" is a direct and honest song about a man who turns to a woman he loves and asks her to marry him and "Let Your Eyes Wander," tells about lost love.
And there is one song that was played in the background while we were writing these lines and it was not included in the original album, but only in the extended version. Its name is "Wrong Side" and it is an exciting, magical, and a special song that helped us during the writing, we also recommend that you listen to it while reading: here. And do not be alarmed if the tears will start flowing down by themselves, this is just the notion that we will never hear this mighty voice releasing new music again.
But the beauty of this album is that despite the discussion of significant issues, Cornell still manages to remain positive and hopeful. He faces the difficulties described in his poems not in sadness, pity, or self-flagellation, but in empathy and cautious optimism.
And like the lyrical side, so is the music on the album. It ranges from the melancholy of the theme song "Higher Truth" and "Let Your Eyes Wander", to the upbeat of "Our Time In The Universe" and "Only These Words". Most of the songs feature Cornell's dominant voice, painful and penetrating yet naked and exposed, with minimalist production and almost no accompanying instruments. There are almost no songs with drums on this album, instead, there are "loops" that Cornell created using an electronic device called a Looper. Anyone who has been to one of Cornell's two shows in Israel in 2012, has seen how he performs alone with the same instrument, recording his voice and the guitar's tracks and playing them over and over again in a repetitive manner that eventually sounds like an entire band accompanying him.
The swan song of one of the greatest singers of our generation is a full reflection of his life. Just as the lyrics and music on the album blend together to create a contrast of love and pain, loss and hope, so too does the wounded soul of this moving creator range from joy to pain, from hope to despair, a modern troubadour, the prince of tides who have managed to save so many souls through his work.
In a very sad and unfortunate way, he failed to save his own...