Michael Walsh / Asst. Entertainment Editor
Experiment and change can be good for the body and soul. Well, in most cases at least. This is the name of the game for famed grunge vocalist Chris Cornell’s newest solo album.
For Scream, the vocalist’s third solo album in a long career of belting lyrics out for illustrious groups such as Soundgarden, Cornell seeks the help of super music producer extraordinaire, Timbaland. It’s a shame his name isn’t Timberland because “Timber!” is exactly what you’d be yelling as you hear this well-respected vocalist’s career gets cut down and falls flat on its face.
Alright, that’s a pretty bad joke and a pretty harsh statement. Actually, you know what, it isn’t. I like Cornell and his musical past, but ever since he claimed that Timbaland lent a lot to the albums so called “psychedelic aspect” (which isn’t existent) that compares to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Queen’s Night at the Opera, I had my doubts about Cornell’s current state of mind.
Scream is basically Cornell’s best attempt at being Justin Timberlake. He just doesn’t fit the mold. With all due respect to his new career path, it’s difficult to separate such a name from the music that made him who he is today.
The other half of it is that the music just isn’t good. A few of the songs, such as the lead track “Part of Me” could potentially be catchy radio tracks, but it’s nothing that is going to withstand the test of time. And while I’m not a fan of Timberlake’s music, whenever I was subjected to hearing a song of his on the radio, it wasn’t even close to the level of torture Cornell’s half-assed attempt at being a pop star forced upon me.
What we have here is an iconic voice of the rock industry gone soft. The music is mundane and boring. The album, minus any exclusive bonus tracks, is 14 tracks too long if you count the hidden track. As I stared a six-minute song in the face, I wanted nothing more than for the album to end.
None of it was a joy to listen to. Repetitive beats set to some of the lamest lyrics I’ve never wanted to hear come out of this man’s mouth. Seriously, Cornell, you pass singing “That bitch ain’t a part of me” roughly eight times in a span of 30 seconds off as a chorus? What about this is there to love for fans of Cornell’s Soundgarden days?
And that’s another thing I’ve never been able to understand. That thing is this particular genre of music. While I have always respected people for their tastes in music, or anything for that matter, I’ve never found the appeal for songs that are far too simple and repetitive for even wheel-spinning lab rats to enjoy. I feel like I’ve heard this music before on the other albums Timbaland has produced.
If Cornell wants to write off his fans’ dislike for the new album as fear of change, so be it. Meanwhile, I’ll stick with the opinion of Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor, who used Twitter to diss Cornell’s new venture. Reznor truthfully made a post asking fans the following: “You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly you feel uncomfortable? Heard Chris Cornell’s record? Jesus.”
I don’t want to yell sellout, I don’t want to yell fake and I don’t want to yell poser. That would be ultimately unfair. Everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second or third chance to amend those oversights. Cornell got one thing right though: The name of the album. I screamed a lot.