After more than 10 years with former grunge band Soundgarden, Chris Cornell re-merged as a solo artist back in the fall of the 90s with his debut album Euphoria Morning which was hailed upon critics, noting its organic blend of textured rock and alternative. His second album Carry On which arrived almost 7 years later, wasn't as well received as his first, but it was still a great rock album. Now we have Scream and what a complete makeover. Bringing the help of producer of the moment Timbaland, who's recently produced hits for the likes of Madonna ("4 Minutes" and "Miles Away") and Rihanna ("Rehab").
As you may have guessed Scream is more Hip-Hop orientated than his previous efforts. Something that I don't have a problem with, but critics and dedicated fans certainly do. Scream is Chris Cornell's worst received album out of the 3 his released.
The album opens with its biggest highlight "Part Of Me" which in-fact, persuaded me to give the album a listen (due to the awful reviews I wasn't planning to). The song has a great, funky synthesized bassline building up to that killer chorus, churning out the raging repetition of: "no that bitch ain't a part of me" with a distorted electronic guitar running behind it. I generally don't gravitate towards repetition in choruses, I actually find it quite annoying. (Britney's "Womanizer" was a major exception). Maybe I just find the curse-word the chorus very sexy.
Admittedly, Scream isn't as bad as the masses have made it out to be, it might be considered as a shame to some that it isn't a traditional rock meets alternative album, but I really like it -- I definitely think it's better than 2007s Carry On although it's a tad unfair to compare albums from completely different genres. A couple highlights are "Sweet Revenge" which maintains an urban vibe but sounds authentically spacey. "Long Gone" has a very eerie but catchy chorus, the verses sound a bit like OneRepublic's 2007 hit ("Apologize") produced by non other than Timbaland, who also puts his stamp all over this haunting number.
"Never Far Away" is one of the more slower numbers, still augmenting the key eerie component. "Two Drink Minimum" is another slow one, a tad depressing but it's the best ballad on here. The album doesn't completely rid the alternative "Climbing Up The Walls" is one of the few tracks Timbaland has no credit on, which is kinda refreshing, consisting of the typical drums and strings.
The album has it's duds, "Time" and "Ordinary Girl" are very boring, but no biggie. I was a tad skeptical about Scream but I'm pretty pleased with it. To save Cornell from complete blacklist from his fans, I'll suggest he returns to his rock orientated work.
Best Tracks: Part Of Me, Sweet Revenge, Get Up, Ground Zero, Climbing Up The Wall, Two Drink Minimum, Long Gone