Scream review by Chris Cornell

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  • Released: Mar 10, 2009
  • Sound: 4
  • Lyrics: 4
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 4 Poor
  • Users' score: 4.8 (119 votes)
Chris Cornell: Scream

Sound — 4
Anticipation is a bitch, don't you know. I and half of the Western world anticipated G 'n R's long suffering Chinese Democracy with the fiendishness of a junkie 5 days without a fix only to have the deliverance render not so much as a contact high. When will I learn my lesson? It's not as if I and the other half of the Western world didn't know that this Chris Cornell/Timbaland thing wasn't going to work out in anyone's favor but stillthere was a shred of hope that from somewhere within the walls of the recording studio, amid the Auto Tuner, the drum machines, the vocoder, the copious amounts of hallucinogenics, etc., that something akin to.. Hell, even the worst Audioslave tune, might come out of collaborating with a one-trick pony on repeat like Timbaland. This miracle musical thing I hoped for underneath this week's full moon despite my previous blog on this subject:

Lyrics — 4
I'm thinking that the creative well is running a bit dry. The R&B world of late is hardly known for being lyrically astute and it somewhate sounds like Cornell lowered the bar in order to fit right in. Congratulations, you succeeded. Cornell's vocals are decent if not so often obscured or overshadowed by the noise... I mean music.

Overall Impression — 4
From the monkey yelps of Ground Zero to the unwarranted misogyny in Part of Me (that bitch ain't a part of me) which I look forward to the day when a young man is crooning that little ditty to or about Cornell's daughter, to the limp-dicked Long Gone to the hey, hey! and that annoyingwhat is thata Wurlitzer twirling in the background of Watch Out? He's criticizing some chick's driving skillz and in my head I'm seeing backup dancers in booty shorts but I'm not feeling the rock. My iTunes classified the album's genre as Rock. Dude... Where's the f*cking rock? Absent. AWOL. On leave. Taking a time out. Pissing on itself in shame. Thirteen tracks and one bonus track- "Two Drink Minimum" which is a deep, saloon bluesy trek of regret and the album's only redeeming feature- but it's wasted here because the ship still sinks faster than the Lusitania. Thirteen tracks and I got up to #11 and then called it a day. My laptop is pretty and I love her and here I sit questioning the insult of having the 119 MBs of Scream taking up space on my hard drive. That space would be better utilized by The Village People because there's honor in disco as it served a purpose and knows it's place in the grand scheme of things. Here, Cornell actually has the belief that Scream is an artistic breakthrough, his best album (I cut him slack because he always says that about his most current project), and TimbalandI don't know what he's thinking about other than trying to put a rock star in the clubs. With so much gloss, bells, tinkering, whistles and effected aural textures Timbaland effectively buries the very thing that is supposed to be the star of the show: Cornell's ungodly vocal ability. Not lost at all because it apparently never showed up for duty, are the stormy and beautifully abstract nature of Cornell lyrics. Instead what we get are the arrogant plastic words of attitude that make contemporary R&B so much the crap that it is today. I can't go anywhere near an R&B station because the sounds that pass for good music embarrass me... And I'm Black. Cornell sings I'm a long way away from home in the faux-sitar, dance with sounds of the Middle East Take Me Alive and truer words were never spoken/sung by the man's extraordinary voice. Carry On, his last solo effort from 2007, received a lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike due to it's over arch of a cheesy adult contemporary nature. That mellow album had it's moments and, I swear, still has the potential to actually grow on you and bless him for his treatment of Billie Jean Sure, many diehards who cut their emotional teeth on Cornell screaming bloody hell like a bat with it's nuts on fire atop insanely loud guitar riffs couldn't digest Carry On but that was to be expected. Others simply appreciated the fact that everyone's favorite grungy rock god was now a guy in his 40's, married with children, a restaurant owner, living in *gasp* France, and well hell, was just seemingly a dude finally at ease in his life. I could dig it. Fast forward to 2009 and Scream and well,... Here we are. Life is hard. And the funny thing is I'm not mad at Timbaland. How could I or anyone be? The guy has his gig and he walked right into this project and did exactly what it is he does so very well, what it is that's made him successful. Cornell on the other hand, is supposed to be the ship's captain and responsible for his creative output. One thing that Cornell has always had in his favor is the fact that the man has always been musically contradictory; although the label of grunge will follow him until the day that he dies, he's consistently expressed himself through unique collaborations (Temple of The Dog), projects (solo work on Great Expectations, Casino Royale and Mission Impossible 2 soundtracks), and simple going is own way (the incomparable Euphoria Morning). If Scream would have yielded anything that resembled crazy, mind-blowing artistic leaps that really did channel Dark Side Of The Moon, man there'd be no more a vocal champion for this (inconceivable) ultimate mash-up than me. Instead Scream comes off as little more than piss poor, thinly veiled attempts at what amounts to a musical sex change for the sake of a rock dude mainlining the mediocre mainstream. Media placements with Verizon Wireless... Okay. ABC's drama "Life On Mars" pimping "Ground Zero"... Alrighty. I won't begrudge those things, but I will note how out of place they feel to me but completely apropos for music that would otherwise go nowhere without so much public push. And that's all I got. I'm actually surprised that I was able to eek this many words out on a subject that I thought I'd forgo but something about Other Side Of Town really pissed me off. Oh yeah, Cornell babbling about a girl dissing him because he screwed up and he has the nerve to ask What type of shit is she on? Mind if I ask that very question of you, Mr. Cornell? You really don't wear this ghetto-fab, urban league, shout-out-to-your-homies crap well. You really should have left that side of town the moment Timbaland began to eviscerate your sound, but hey, get your street cred on. Holla. On the flip side, this project is downright fascinating... In that perverse watching a car crash kind of way.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Harvey_Danger wrote: 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!
    That is quite possibly the single most horrendous statement I've heard in quite some time, and I've heard some really f*cked up sh*t before. Just pause for a minute and dwell on the implications and ramifications of what you just suggested. Do you feel guilty yet? If not, don't worry about it. I'm embarrassed enough for the both of us. Let the man do as he pleases. He's been in the limelight for how many years and you people still want him to do the same old song and dance? Anybody would be sick of it by now no matter how much we like it or how much "better" (if such a thing could be measured) it is to the current stuff. Cornell's dance record is fundamentally no different than the Smashing Pumpkins refusing to play their hits. If you like what's available, kudos to you. If not, join the crowd. In the meantime, as long as he's doing what he wants what's it matter? There's an audience for everything. Just because you've been following him for years but wont enjoy this album doesn't mean that someone else who's never heard of him will. But there's no need to be a dick.
    ak10 wrote: Why are you wasting your time with this, go be the lead singer of velvet revolver already
    Wouldn't that be something else. Doubt he'd get in after this though.
    I liked it. Come on guys, it would be boring for both him and us to have a record like all the others. He's trying new things and seems to make sense!
    I gotta say I loved the album, and I hate hip hop, rap, RnB and most crap Timebaland is associated with. I have most soundgarden and audioslave albums, and I'm not the least disapointed with Cornell.Cum on he's been doing the same thing over 20 years, you can't blame for going for a diferent direction. I think it's rather obvious he's not trying to be the next justin timberlake, he's like 15 years older and he didn't sold out either, I don't think he needs money that bad, so people think twice before accusing anybody of anything.