Scream review by Chris Cornell

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  • Released: Mar 10, 2009
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 4.8 (119 votes)
Chris Cornell: Scream
8

Sound — 7
For those of us who grew up with the early, grunge-fueled days of Soundgarden, you're about to be in for a shock. Many of us know that Cornell has been branching out toward a more radio-friendly sound since splitting with Audioslave back in 2007, but the singer's latest effort is a huge leap into unfamiliar territory: dance music. Scream, Cornell's 3rd solo studio album, is rooted heavily in synth, sampling, and dance grooves. It's a logical result, considering that Cornell chose Timbaland (the man behind many Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado songs) to act as one of the main producers of the album. Long story short, the best way to go into listening to Scream is with a completely open mind.

Listening to the 1st track on the record, I seriously thought I had put in the wrong CD. There were no crunchy guitars, or even acoustics for that matter. The song Part of Me begins with majestic horns (or at least samples) and soon after a crazy and indecipherable voice that sounds like a cross between a robot and a demon. It's not really the way you expect a Cornell album to kick off, and it's not necessarily a bad thing - just extremely unexpected. After the elaborate intro, Part of Me morphs into what is essentially a dance song. Drum beats and samples drive the song, and it is actually infectious in a clubgoer sort of way.

The dance/R&B vibe stays consistent throughout, and Timbaland certainly has a way with creating some unusual mixes. Between the Middle Eastern vibe and rich vocal harmonies of Take Me Alive to the computer-like synth solo of Sweet Revenge, the creativity isn't lacking. Scream, which has a title that begs for some musical insanity (possibly of the metal kind), is actually one of the most laid-back songs on the album. Once again, Cornell knows how to raise a few eyebrows.

In the latter part of the album things tend to get a little repetitive. Granted, club/techno hits often rely on choruses that repeat the same line over and over again, and given the content on Scream, that's probably what Timbaland and Cornell were going for. If you're a fan of a more stripped-down sound that gets back to the basics, you'll have to wait until the final track. Two Drink Minimum is a bluesy little number co-written by John Mayer, and while it's still a far cry from Pretty Noose or Loud Love, it's nice to hear instruments in their raw form come through the mix.

Lyrics — 8
When you compare the lyrics on Scream to Cornell's past works, it definitely seems like many of them been written to fit the dance genre. Part of Me is a prime example with lines such as, I love the girl, I'm lovin' the dress she wears; She's got a hold, got a hold of me neck, oh yeah. Not every tracks is as quite as superficial, and there are a few that are more emotionally driven. In Long Gone Cornell sings, I used to watch your flowers grow; Now it's raining and all your petals turns to stone; I've been praying; I turn around and see my rose. The lyrical content may not be quite as strong as what we've heard in some Soundgarden songs, but in comparison to the music it's nothing too out of the ordinary.

Overall Impression — 7
The cover photo for Scream couldn't be more fitting: Chris appears to look as if he's about to smash the living crap out of his guitar. I may be reading too much into it, but it certainly does seem to relay a message that you don't always need a guitar as the centerpiece to create a quality song. If you don't like the idea of dance music fueled by funky samples and drum machines, you may be quite angry with the direction that Cornell has chosen. When compared with his last release Carry On, you do have to give him credit for being more innovative. Having Timbaland as a producer could guarantee him success with a whole new audience, and those listeners will likely be the most receptive to Cornell's new club-driven repertoire. For those who are still mad that he went to a softer style of rock in Audioslave, Scream might be the final straw.

96 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Covin
    Moosi wrote: ahrg... i thought i'd love cornell's work... but seems really that he sold out finally... ok, new ways --> new fans... not me any more i'll listen to his good old stuff, hoping for better times to come
    See, that's the problem with all you Internet fatties that sit back and judge music and musicians. The dude has been doing rock for the last 20 years...maybe he wanted to take a break. Who said anything about him selling out? How do you know he sold out? And if you really know anything about dance music, it doesn't sell enough to records to make a multi-platinum artist like Chris Cornell consider selling out to it. If Chris wanted to sell out, he would do exactly what all you pansies want him to do: get back with Soundgarden. THAT would be selling out, because the only reason he'd do it is to make YOU happy. When an artist does something for money, or simply for other people, that is selling out. There isn't too much money in dance music unless you're a former teen star (Timberlake, Spears). Gah, judgemental, close-minded cowards.
    DirkLance
    Covin wrote: Moosi wrote: ahrg... i thought i'd love cornell's work... but seems really that he sold out finally... ok, new ways --> new fans... not me any more i'll listen to his good old stuff, hoping for better times to come See, that's the problem with all you Internet fatties that sit back and judge music and musicians. The dude has been doing rock for the last 20 years...maybe he wanted to take a break. Who said anything about him selling out? How do you know he sold out? And if you really know anything about dance music, it doesn't sell enough to records to make a multi-platinum artist like Chris Cornell consider selling out to it. If Chris wanted to sell out, he would do exactly what all you pansies want him to do: get back with Soundgarden. THAT would be selling out, because the only reason he'd do it is to make YOU happy. When an artist does something for money, or simply for other people, that is selling out. There isn't too much money in dance music unless you're a former teen star (Timberlake, Spears). Gah, judgemental, close-minded cowards.
    There are really so many things wrong with what you've typed that...well I'm going to have to assume you wanted a negative response and some sort of angry back-lash to get your goodies on. The irony is nobody here is saying anything that ridiculous...you, more than anyone else, embody the "Internet fatty" with your flaming and abrasive attitude. The fact of the matter is, nobody can deny Cornell wants to do something different. That's not the issue. I don't think anyone wants Soundgarden back if it's going to be forced. But why can't fans hold one of their favorite artists to a higher standard? The point is, there isn't a relative linking genre between ROCK and DANCE music. People who are fans of his older stuff cannot be expected to like his new music because it is TOTALLY different and unrelated. It may be good music. But there is nothing wrong with people not liking it. How close minded do YOU have to be to not accept that some people DON'T like this music? And why exactly are people cowards if they don't want to listen to dance music? Especially if they don't want to listen to any more cookie cutter tunes from Timbaland. Cornell would seem less like he was selling out if he didn't go with the producer who has become notorious for making very similar sounding, albeit very popular radio hits. You're wrong about artists not having success in the dance business, especially since we're talking about Timbaland...he practically made One Republic's career with his remix of "Apologize"...only after that did their actual music hold water on the radio. Not that they aren't a good band...they are! But now they're all over pop radio and on the mp3 players of half the nation now. Much of that is due to Timbaland's name getting them out there. So this move can only be seen as selling out by Cornell, even if it is a shallow view. There is no denying that any desire to work with Timbaland at this point is a desire to have a pop radio hit. More than anything, above anything that can be said about the music, what you wrote is one of the most hypocritical things I've read on the internet lately, and that's saying a LOT. Calling an entire group of general people "fatties", "pansies", and "cowards" isn't close-minded OR judgmental on YOUR part? Get your story straight before you decide to come poop your case of the mondays all of the internet.
    Stone Agean
    Baltic Ave. : You guys seriously need to chill out. Listen to it with an open mind like the reviewer said. He doesn't scream or play big heavy rock guitars anymore. Big deal. If you don't like it, don't complain. Its not like he's gonna actually get on here and read your stupid little hate comments dissing his music. Complain all you want, it doesn't change anything. I don't understand why some people can't appreciate an artist trying to have some variety in their music. Just because he does a bunch of sampling and synths doesn't mean he's trying to be the next Justin Timberlake, I'm sure if he were to put out another album that sounded like badmotorfinger people would complain about it "sounding the same". You guys are tools, this cd is really good.
    Tell you what else is good. Typing sentences in this fashion. Its great, isnt it? who needs paragraphs when you have single sentences, right? Anyway, there is no hope I will even bother downloading this. Seems like a total waste of time... Respect to him doing what he wants, but this is where his music and I part our ways. Dance?!
    brando17
    Cornell must have been using a little foreshadowing when saying "follow me into the desert" because years later... wow...dead and dry.
    littleleo88
    having heard several of the tracks on this album, im actually really impressed and a bit surprised by my own reaction to the album. ill definitely be buying the album come march 10th when it hits the shops!
    slipkid2112
    This is what happens when you begin smoking. As much as I would love to see Soundgarden reunite, it wouldn't be like the early days. Chris' voice has just really taken a beating. There's really no way for it to be as good as it once was. It's so sad that it's come to recording dance music.
    xXChimairaXx
    nave890 wrote: just reunite with soundgarden already and make another temple of the dog album
    Just what I was thinking. Hopefully an Soundgarden reunion might happen, or Audioslave would be amazing. But I don't think Temple of the Dog will happen, because Chris and Eddy are just too bigheaded these days.
    JD Blue Venom
    theres a million things i could say about this, but cornell isnt even worthy of a rant now
    Wiirdo
    I downloaded it. It's his worst work yet, andI wasn't a fan at all of Carry On. Euphoria Morning was brilliant though.
    nave890
    just reunite with soundgarden already and make another temple of the dog album
    Moosi
    ahrg... i thought i'd love cornell's work... but seems really that he sold out finally... ok, new ways --> new fans... not me any more i'll listen to his good old stuff, hoping for better times to come
    savory_softy
    Thanks DirkLance, it's nice seeing a reasoned argument occasionally. And it is a shame, his belting of "shadow on the sun!" is what blew my stereo system. Guess I should thank him (Chris) really, now it's only down to Randy Blythe or Rob Flynn to finish the next ones.
    RufusRay
    Music is a form of art. Cornell's always shaken things up in the music industry, and this'll be added to the list. How many people expected this album? I didn't, and I guarantee we definitely won't have a clue what to expect with his next album. On an interesting note, how hilarious would it be to see him bust some dance moves at these concerts.
    Cafas
    I respect the hell out of Chris for doing whatever he wants to do. More power to him. That said, as a huge Cornell/Soundgarden fan who tried to be approach the album with an open mind, I was extremlely disappointed.
    Harvey_Danger
    Baltic Ave. wrote: Stone Agean wrote: Tell you what else is good. Typing sentences in this fashion. Its great, isnt it? who needs paragraphs when you have single sentences, right? Anyway, there is no hope I will even bother downloading this. Seems like a total waste of time... Respect to him doing what he wants, but this is where his music and I part our ways. Dance?! Real mature. You're effin' hilarious.
    Baltic Ave. wrote: And yes, that's sarcasm.
    Apparently he's moved past separating paragraphs into sentences and on to making them individual posts. Seriously, though, Chris Cornell really needs to go back on the drugs. His music has sucked since he stopped. I demand more personal torture for our musical sensibilities!
    Baltic Ave.
    Stone Agean wrote: Tell you what else is good. Typing sentences in this fashion. Its great, isnt it? who needs paragraphs when you have single sentences, right? Anyway, there is no hope I will even bother downloading this. Seems like a total waste of time... Respect to him doing what he wants, but this is where his music and I part our ways. Dance?!
    Real mature. You're effin' hilarious.
    ThatWouldBeJon
    good review but wow i understand chris wants to extend his musical boundrys and all but in doing the rap kinda thing is killing his fans, such a talented guy doing this plunge is disapointing. long live audiolsave and soundgarden.
    nonstopdisco89
    Well cover me in eggs and flour and bake me for fourty minutes! Did not see this one coming. What next I wonder..?
    Filip413
    "Scream" is the product of Cornell's close collaboration with Timbaland. The music is largely unproductive and for a guy as talented as Cornell, really isn't at all that creative. Its just a shame that someone with such an amazing vocal talent let them self drown and create an album as shit as this. To each his own I guess
    freakincody7
    you guys should stop getting mad and just let the guy do what he wants to do. hes always seemed to me that he didnt like where he was, considering hes been jumping from band to band for the past couple of years. maybe its just time he mellowed out, tok a break, and came back to grungy stuff when hes ready to, instead of giving in the the constant hassling you guys give him
    Philly080
    As for the music, I definetely won't buy it. But I like the album cover a lot. It portrays him ditching the guitar, which is exactly what he seems to be doing with this album.
    DegaMeth
    what the ****...this shit is lame i liked his solo stuff from 10 years ago and i like electronic music but this is gay
    KorbalBroach
    I have been extremely tolerant of Cornell's stuff even as his ego grew to enormous proportions but, as the review says, this really is the last straw. A forty-something ex-grunge rockstar trying to be the next Justin Timberlake is too much to swallow. As for innovation, I am not so sure. "Scream" sounds like every other pop song. Terrible.
    Kastöm
    I expected this to be terrible the second I heard the word "Timbaland".
    kcin1313
    WoW. This just is'nt right. i mean i guess i could see him wanting to do new things but. really... is this really what its come to this point in time. what ever happened the good music you know?... hearing this new stuff just make me loss faith in about everything. i really have looked up the chris like my whole life, i mean soundgarden need i say more. right now i wish i would have died with kurt cuz theres just now place left for me in this music world...
    TBezza
    Ultimate 'GUITAR' reviewing a dance album.... Might be Cornell, who I adore, but this direction isn't for me, or this website IMO
    luyano
    im so sad, i loved his "old" sound, this is too dissapointing to me
    MetalManiac_86
    Another sh*tty release. Grunge, hard rock, dance, r&b, rap... does it matter? Not when you suck like Chris Cornell in the first place.
    Deflection
    It's a shame that one of the greatest rock singers of all time (when he was in 'Garden) has made such a horrible, shitty and useless album. I blame Timbaland.
    The-Red-Sky
    DirkLance wrote: Covin wrote: Moosi wrote: ahrg... i thought i'd love cornell's work... but seems really that he sold out finally... ok, new ways --> new fans... not me any more i'll listen to his good old stuff, hoping for better times to come See, that's the problem with all you Internet fatties that sit back and judge music and musicians. The dude has been doing rock for the last 20 years...maybe he wanted to take a break. Who said anything about him selling out? How do you know he sold out? And if you really know anything about dance music, it doesn't sell enough to records to make a multi-platinum artist like Chris Cornell consider selling out to it. If Chris wanted to sell out, he would do exactly what all you pansies want him to do: get back with Soundgarden. THAT would be selling out, because the only reason he'd do it is to make YOU happy. When an artist does something for money, or simply for other people, that is selling out. There isn't too much money in dance music unless you're a former teen star (Timberlake, Spears). Gah, judgemental, close-minded cowards. There are really so many things wrong with what you've typed that...well I'm going to have to assume you wanted a negative response and some sort of angry back-lash to get your goodies on. The irony is nobody here is saying anything that ridiculous...you, more than anyone else, embody the "Internet fatty" with your flaming and abrasive attitude. The fact of the matter is, nobody can deny Cornell wants to do something different. That's not the issue. I don't think anyone wants Soundgarden back if it's going to be forced. But why can't fans hold one of their favorite artists to a higher standard? The point is, there isn't a relative linking genre between ROCK and DANCE music. People who are fans of his older stuff cannot be expected to like his new music because it is TOTALLY different and unrelated. It may be good music. But there is nothing wrong with people not liking it. How close minded do YOU have to be to not accept that some people DON'T like this music? And why exactly are people cowards if they don't want to listen to dance music? Especially if they don't want to listen to any more cookie cutter tunes from Timbaland. Cornell would seem less like he was selling out if he didn't go with the producer who has become notorious for making very similar sounding, albeit very popular radio hits. You're wrong about artists not having success in the dance business, especially since we're talking about Timbaland...he practically made One Republic's career with his remix of "Apologize"...only after that did their actual music hold water on the radio. Not that they aren't a good band...they are! But now they're all over pop radio and on the mp3 players of half the nation now. Much of that is due to Timbaland's name getting them out there. So this move can only be seen as selling out by Cornell, even if it is a shallow view. There is no denying that any desire to work with Timbaland at this point is a desire to have a pop radio hit. More than anything, above anything that can be said about the music, what you wrote is one of the most hypocritical things I've read on the internet lately, and that's saying a LOT. Calling an entire group of general people "fatties", "pansies", and "cowards" isn't close-minded OR judgmental on YOUR part? Get your story straight before you decide to come poop your case of the mondays all of the internet.
    No I'm pretty sure Covin was correct in all of his points. Here's my stand on the matter. First of all, I wouldn't call it dance music at all just because Timbaland helped out. I'd say urban but not dance. Next, obviously he knew his success doing something different like this wouldn't be as good as doing the same thing over and over again. I think Cornell probably just wanted to try new things as opposed to wanting to make "dance" music. And the reason he worked with Timbaland is likely because Timbaland knows how to make a good beat which is what Cornell wanted for this particular album. And at least now not all dance music completely sucks. Besides, I hope everyone here at least listened to the album before taking this terrible review's word for it.
    OingoBoingo21
    I don't care what Cornell does as long as it's interesting and unique. Everything I've heard from this album so far is just generic garbage though. Even completely ignoring the amazingess that was Soundgarden and judging these songs for what they are on their own, they're just boring. Such a wasted opportunity.
    Amuro Jay
    Hm... Interesting. I may be checking it out. I like Timbaland as a producer, but I'm usually not to attracted to who he works with. I like Cornell though, so I may give this a spin.
    Hungry_Hameds
    We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of Chris Cornell's decent material. Throughout his career he was a standard bearer for rock and grunge music, with Soundgarden, Solo material and Audioslave. Sadly, 'Timbaland Syndrome' has claimed another victim, and Chris Cornell's decent material is now but a distant memory. RIP (sniff)...
    Teen Spirit
    Ah. I have so much to say for this, yet so little of it is probably gonna come in words as I want them to. First of all. Before anything, if this is what Cornell truly wanted to do, I guess I can be happy for him that he finally retired or took a break from rock and grunge and everything, and did what he wanted to do. And yet, it does disappoint me a lot, because there is of course hardly any grunge music coming out anymore, and anything grunge-related, whether it's Vedder's solo stuff, a reissuing of PJ's Ten, or Cornell's new solo stuff, anything at all related to grunge is something I look forward to with all I have. Thus when one of my biggest heroes, Cornell, turns to something else, I can not, and I'm sure many other SG fans cannot bear it. This is simply because Cornell was my hero as a grunge rocker, as the rough, crude, screaming SoundGarden frontman, songs like Jesus Christ Pose, Like Suicide and Rusty Cage rocking on the grunge scene for long after it's faded out. This is a huge shock for me, and I'm sure for many other fans as well, and you can't blame us for this, because not only are we not used to it, one of the huge pieces of the grunge scene that was left over, one of the last main men that ruled the grunge scene has pretty much just changed into a new person with the same name. After all, grunge music had a lot to do with anti-commercialism-type things, and now Cornell's working with timbaland or whatever? Wow, this is gonna be a tough one to handle.
    5thSeasonStudio
    I never knew what to expect with this album. I heard that Timbaland was producing and thought it sounded very interesting. Now after hearing the album, im speechless....Chris Cornell seems to actually be able to pull of everything! The album is so different for his voice and it sounds so fresh! It does get abit repetitive but there are alot of A+ songs which makes up for it. Chris Cornell didnt sell out, he felt inspired by dance music and chose to create his own dance-musich which is something that should be encouraged in todays music! We have too much of the same. Dont know why people are complaining when someone tries to do something different. The music has to evolve, it has to grow and thats something that everyone who love music should support, no matter what genre its about.
    red157
    If this is truly the direction he wanted to go artistically (Which I doubt somehow...) then good for Cornell for trying something so bold. It's a shame it's an awful album then. Euphoria Morning honestly feels like it's from a different musician. Even his vocals aren't up to the usual standard. Horrid.
    jcthomasva
    Covin wrote: And if you really know anything about dance music, it doesn't sell enough to records to make a multi-platinum artist like Chris Cornell consider selling out to it. If Chris wanted to sell out, he would do exactly what all you pansies want him to do: get back with Soundgarden. THAT would be selling out, because the only reason he'd do it is to make YOU happy. When an artist does something for money, or simply for other people, that is selling out. There isn't too much money in dance music unless you're a former teen star (Timberlake, Spears).
    How very Howard Roarke-esque. I applaud you. I agree, its not selling out, its pursuing his own interests, the music public be damned. But judging this album on its musical merits, I find it forgettable. He cannot carry an album based on the strength of his voice anymore, its just not there. And the songwriting on the album is bilge; its not up to the standards he's set for himself in the past, I'm not even sure its up to the standards of the teeny-bop pop and dance music we're critical of (I have a pre-release and unlike other commentators I've actually listened to it). I'll just content myself with his previous solo efforts and the excellent Unplugged in Sweden.
    psychogrunge1
    Well,I personaly think that dreaming about good old days is stupid.There will be no more Soundgarden as grunge and all its hype is over(with all my love to it).And especially no more Temple Of The Dog,which was a one-shot project - tribute to a fallen friend.I believe that musician should be creative and push the limits,should develop.That is what Cornell did when he released "Euphoria Morning" which is very deep,diverse and not much polished.I wish he'd explore that territory more,imho,that is his best work to date.But with this album... Sure,Covin,he deserves a break and it's understandable,but this album is just lame.Listening to this album I just hear another guy trying to jump successfully into the pop-world,music is very typical for a regular pop-wannabe with a very professional producer.I listen to tons of music,I like music not regarding its style,or how much guitar there is in it.But this piece of music is very disappointing,especially for the man who has tons of talent,kickass voice and who really used to push the limits and surprise people.Now he is just trying to be with the flow.Sad and frustrating album from the man who used to be one of my favourite singers.