Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chris Cornell-Scream (2008)


My music explorations have taken me back to the largely uncharted waters of alternative rock where, surprisingly, I got newly acquainted with the late singer/songwriter of SOUNDGARDEN and AUDIOSLAVE, two bands I've never gotten around to tuning in to over the years. 'Surprisingly', because I seem to think I should've crossed paths with their music once or twice in the past, even if my music-listening journeys into the world of alternative rock haven't gone as deep as treks into my other favorite genres. Well, at the crossroads of this 're-discovery' is Chris Cornell and what ranks as one of the coolest albums I've heard all week: "Scream". The combined forces of his dynamite soulful voice, his intriguing and colorful lyrics, and especially the amazing production work are what sold this one to me! I was hooked already when I took in the dancey electro-pop style opener, "Part Of Me", where his bold, unabashed words of ' that bitch ain't a part of me ' would get stuck in my head and established to me that this man is about some serious business. There were many places where I honestly got lost in the music to care too much about what was actually being sung, namely on the song called "Time" (the funky rock arrangement got to me there), "Sweet Revenge" (the electro-pop beat again enticing my ears here, not to mention those bombastic drums in the last part of the main chorus), "Never Far Away" (such power and emotion shown off on this epic ballad, which has a majestic, 'Gladiator movie' style ending) and the intense upbeat thrill ride that is "Watch Out". Then there were the gems where I couldn't help but to be captivated by his words, with one sparkling jewel in particular being "Get Up". Of course, I couldn't help but to love this one because of its production, too—it's got this glitzy, half-Freestyle/half-r&b electro thing going on, plus some fun sound play with the digitally-disguised vocals—but his raw, tell-it-like-it-is words about needing a backbone to exist in this world (I like that analogy of being a skeleton made of straw) and doing something more with life are what truly did it for me. I couldn't help but to keep thinking about the Michael Jackson/Janet Jackson hit that shares its name with this album's title while tuning in to these songs, so when I finally got to the title track, I wondered if Chris would be singing about somebody or some thing that makes him want to scream, too? Turns out to be quite the opposite: it's the girl who is screaming at him, as the song is about him trying to figure out 'why you keep screaming at the top of your head?' in this wonderfully-presented, down-to-earth ballad that asks a valid question about some people who are needlessly overemotional in general. Subconsciously, I must be aching for some metal rock, because I got a supreme charge out of the intense, energetic thrillers that are "Enemy" and "Climbing Up The Walls"; both are powerful; well, I've just been in the mood for some metal rock altogether, but just haven't treated myself to any in a while. "Other Side Of Town" is another great jam, one that makes excellent use of turning a marching drum rhythm into a dance beat and one that again highlights that raw, tell-it-like-is lyrical style (this time, about a girl he should've never met and had left alone). His voice is most appreciated, however, on the bonus cut tagged to the end of "Watch Out"; it's beautifully crisp and clear and soulful, with the fine guitar acoustics blending in with the bluesy harmonica and organ very nicely:

1. Part Of Me
2. Time
3. Sweet Revenge
4. Get Up
5. Ground Zero
6. Never Far Away
7. Take Me Alive
8. Long Gone
9. Scream
10. Enemy
11. Other Side Of Town
12. Climbing Up The Walls
13. Watch Out

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