Sound — 8
In this album, I think we get to see a different, softer side of Cornell, and a huge contrast to Audioslave. While his legendary Soundgarden roots have been lost from the music (with a few exceptions, such as No Such Thing), he has produced something quite different and curious. With some soulfelt acoustic songs thrown in with some hints of progressive rock and the occasional heavy part, this makes for very interesting listening. Favorite song of mine: Disappearing Act. However, I do now believe the music in album is exploited enough. It's all shuffled away as accompaniment to Chris's voice. This is all very well, but there are some nice riffs and chord progressions which I wouldn't mine hearing more of.
Lyrics — 8
Not much to say here, other than Chris's voice is brilliant and always will be. The lyrics themselves are clever, full with metaphoric meanings to ponder on, as well as some strait up relationship songs (e.g. With his arms around your love). By the sound of a lot of the words in this album, many of the messages Chris sings are from personal experience. Whether this is true or not, I do not know. What matters is that they are done well and he does not sound 'artificial' singing them.
Overall Impression — 8
While this may not be Chris's usual style, it is certainly good music worth giving a try, especially if your already a fan. With a mix of easy listening, curious listening and mosh-pit kinds of music, it kept me interest right the way through. The only problem, is that it could have done with a little more 'heavy moments' (as I call them), and a little less songs about relationships; because, lets face it, we can all get very sick of those.