Chris Cornell’s Scream album has been controversial to say the least. This year's Timbaland-produced album has been viewed by some as a lacklustre attempt to gain the former Soundgarden frontman a stake in the modern R n’ B and pop market. But is Cornell already backtracking to the rock?
We’re not joining the Cornell backlash though – recent events and the fact Cornell has had a hand (or voice) in some of our favourite albums ever in the past means we're not giving up on him. He’s always been an artist that refuses to stay still and repeat himself so here’s six pieces of evidence why the man behind classic albums like Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and Temple Of The Dog still rocks and might be done with Timbaland and his drum machines for good…
1. He’s changed producer
This new single version of Scream track Long Gone is produced by Howard Benson, not Timbaland, and features a guitar heavy sound – completely different to the album take…
2. His hair keeps getting longer
If it carries on this way it’ll be Badmotorfinger era Cornell-long as above – that album celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2011 so he’s still got time for a potential reunion.
3. He’s hanging out with his ex-Soundgarden bandmates again
Ok, there’s no evidence that Cornell fell out with his Soundgarden bandmates but recent events have got grunge tongues wagging. First, ¾ of the band, sans Cornell – that’s guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron – reunited to play three songs in Seattle with that city's legendary musical figure Tad Doyle on vocals. Cornell told the Washington post: "I thought it was cool that they'd actually get together and rehearse some songs. I was kind of surprised by it, to be honest (laughs)… so I just really thought it was a cool thing for them to do. They were just getting up there and doing it for fun, and I think that's great. The only thing I didn't like is that I wasn't there to see it. If I was there, I probably would've gotten up on stage."
A few weeks later and he’s pictured with Thayil (second left in the pic above) backstage at one of his recent solo gigs in Seattle… hmmm
4. He cares about his fans
Cornell certainly didn’t make Scream as a two-fingered salute to his fans – it was just something he wanted to do. "I would be stupid to assume that (all my fans) would like it,” he told the Washington Post. “I would be stupid to think that everybody would, like, get into something that's really sort of an electronic rock record. In terms of its instrumentation, it's entirely different than what they're used to or what they might even ever want to hear. It doesn't sting at all."
But anyone who might be doubting the man – check out a song Cornell is offering for free download (with optional donation) called I Promise It’s Not Goodbye on his official site. The lyrics for the song were based on a poem by fan Roy De La Rosa, a man who lost his six-year old daughter to cancer last year and was then diagnosed himself with the disease earlier this year. All money donated will go directly to Rory’s family to help pay for medical bills.
5. Dio says so
Ronnie James Dio says Cornell rocks and he knows these things doesn’t he? He seems to know about most things anyway. The Heaven And Hell frontman was recent asked by Rhapsody's blog to name his all-time favorite playlist of songs – amongst his stellar choices was Soundgarden’s Spoonman… "I think Chris Cornell is such a great singer, gushed the vocal titan… “those guys write so well and always write well – [and] I mean, I love what he's done with Audioslave and the things he's done since then. I just think it's a great song and it's such an unusual song from that album."
Dio’s ridden the rollercoaster of fortune for years – with all its peaks and troughs – so his backing means there’s surely hope for Cornell’s credibility yet. Although we must point out that there’s currently no plans for Dio to work with Timbaland.
6. He can still belt out the classics
Outshined live last year. ‘Nuff said.