Album Reviews

Chris Cornell – Songbook Review

Released by: Universal Music Enterprises

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Rock




01. As Hope And Promise Fade

02. Scar On The Sky

03. Call Me A Dog

04. Ground Zero

05. Can’t Change Me

06. I Am The Highway

07. Thank You (LED ZEPPELIN cover)

08. Cleaning My Gun

09. Wide Awake

10. Fell On Black Days

11. All Night Thing

12. Doesn’t Remind Me

13. Like A Stone

14. Black Hole Sun

15. Imagine (JOHN LENNON cover)

16. The Keeper

Chris Cornell is one of those guys that really should need no introduction… But in the interest of those that may not know much of him let’s just have a brief recap. Cornell is most famous for being the frontman of Grunge pioneers SOUNDGARDEN and is actually widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the entire movement, even though similarly to ALICE IN CHAINS, SOUDGARDEN had a bit more of a metal flair than other bands of the era like for example NIRVANA and PERAL JAM. But asides from that he also spent some time in the supergroup AUDIOSLAVE which he formed with some members of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. His other accolades include founding the Grunge supergroup TEMPLE OF THE DOG, a handful of solo albums and also numerous film soundtrack contributions. His most controversial move however was with his last solo album, titled SCREAM, which saw Chris move toward contemporary pop music and collaborating with TIMBALAND.

SO that’s it for our brief history lesson, now let’s look at Cornell’s latest effort, SONGBOOK, which is a live compilation of tracks from every era of his career done is pure acoustic fashion culled from the solo acoustic tours he has been doing for the last couple of years. So, does it work?… Oh, yes it sure does! Chris is already the lucky owner of one the best and more unique voices in rock history, the fact that nearly every one of these songs stand up to the bare-bones stripping back makes it all the more sweeter. The guitar work is kept minimalistic and basic throughout which really gives Cornell’s vocals centre-stage, and I think this is the best he has ever sounded, showing that his ability to croon on a lower register is just as significant and powerful as his high-pitched wail that he is more widely recognised.

The opener AS HOPE AND PROMISE FADE is one the best one-man, one-guitar performances you’ll likely ever hear and whilst the high quality is kept up across the entire sixteen tracks, this one is probably the main highlight. CALL ME A DOG is even more potent in this format than what it was when originally released. LIKE A STONE, I AM THE HIGHWAY and DOESN’T REMIND ME all show just how good Cornell’s lyric writing was in his time with AUDIOSLAVE and Chris’ most well-known tune BLACK HOLE SUN has never sounded better. There’s a couple of covers here too with a pretty standard rendition of IMAGINE (John Lennon) and an interesting version of LED ZEPPELIN track THANK YOU. There’s also two previously unreleased tunes in the mix with CLEANING MY GUN, a suicide inspired tune written back In the day, and THE KEEPER which works as bit of sneak-peek for Cornell’s next solo album, whenever that may be. Even the SCREAM era is represented here with GROUND ZERO, a tune based on the 9/11 attacks which was easily the pick of the bunch from the SCREAM album, although it’s actually the weakest track on SONGBOOK, except for the moving lyrics of course.

This album will be a real treat to anybody that has followed Cornell through his many iterations, and casual fans will surely find something of value here too. With songs like SPOONMAN, RUSTY CAGE, JESUS CHRIST POSE, BLOW UP THE OUTSIDE WORLD, PRETTY NOOSE, 4TH OF JULY and MY WAY still missing, a “Part 2” seems inevitable (Let’s hope so anyway), but we will likely have to a while as Chris Cornell is currently busy with the recent reformation of the almighty SOUNDGARDEN and the subsequent upcoming new album. Until that eventuates, SONGBOOK should be enough to keep most fans very, very happy.


Written by Zeezee

Ratings  Zeezee    9/10



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