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Hard-rocker goes limp with
dance-floor fodder

Chris Cornell - Scream
(Mosley Music / Interscope Records)
1 star (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 1, 2009
Chris Cornell

Review by Tony Bonyata

Frontman Chris Cornell helped usher in grunge rock in the early '90s with his former band Soundgarden before creating one of this decade's first supergroups, Audioslave, with three ex-members of Rage Against The Machine. He was also, and perhaps may still be, one of rock's greatest living howlers. So what in the hell went so horribly wrong on Cornell's third solo effort?

Well, for starters he's abandoned the harder edge rock music that his raspy voice is best suited for, in favor of empty dance-floor R&B numbers that are devoid of any soul or passion. We can thank super-producer Timbaland (Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Madonna) for turning the thirteen tracks here to synthetic mush. But even compositionally the album is crowded with soppy ballads with canned beats and cheesy synth strings (the agonizing "Long Gone," "Never Far Away" and "Take Me Alive"), as well as the more upbeat modern dance tracks ("Part Of Me" and "Get Up") that are as excruciatingly painful as they are downright embarrassing for this once respected rocker. There is just so much that feels wrong with Cornell's new misguided direction that it's hard to find anything redeeming in this lop of saccharine pap. Oh sure, "Ground Zero" takes Moby's approach at stitching together age-old roots music with modern techno, but it ultimately just sounds like Cornell ripping off Moby's technique, before the empty chorus drags down this sinking ship of a song. And speaking of cheese, the chorus of "Time" sounds like it could be the theme song to SNL's head-bobbing Roxbury dudes night on the town - if only Cornell got the joke.

Even if you're a fan of good modern soul or R&B music, Cornell and Timbaland's canned and mechanical work here fails to hit the mark. Of course, if you're a fan of the singer's work with his two former bands then you'll want to avoid this lame, pre-processed, rump-shaking fodder like the plague. Consider yourself warned.

Related articles:

Projekt Revolution Tour 2008 (Chris Cornell) - Concert review - East Troy, WI - Aug. 2008
Chris Cornell / Juliette and the Licks - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - July 2007
Audioslave / Seether / 30 Seconds to Mars - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Nov. 2005
Lollapalooza 2003 (Audioslave) - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - July 2003
Audioslave - CD review

Watch Chris Cornell & Timbland "SCREAM"
behind the scenes of the tour!

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