Euphoria Morning (A&M)
by Michael McCarthy
The first solo album by singer-songwriter-guitarist Chris Cornell isn’t much of a departure from the late Soundgarden. He’s a bit more experimental on some tracks with “Follow My Way” sounding a bit country and “Sweet Euphoria” coming off like the acoustic take of a song that should’ve been on the last Soundgarden disc, but… the album could’ve had the Soundgarden logo slapped on the cover and fans probably would’ve called it a natural progression. Unfortunately, a lot of fans were on the verge of torching their flannels after the last Soundgarden disc, so I think it was wise for Cornell to have done this disc solo, lest the Soundgarden name be tarnished beyond recognition. This way, he can reunite with the Soundgarden cats if and when he feels like playing it heavy again and people will be all over it. In theory, anyway.
In the meantime, he’s serving a diverse collection of tunes á la Scott Weiland’s underrated solo disc. While the above mentioned songs fail to grab me, there are some masterpieces here. The first single, “Can’t Change Me,” and “Preaching the End Of The World” are arguably the strongest tracks and sure to please those who caught a tan bathing in “Black Hole Sun” a few years back. They’re instantly catchy songs you might want to play a few times in a row, just to convince yourself that you’re not imagining just how damn catchy they are. Other tracks, like “Steel Rain” and “When I’m Down,” can be your best friend or a major annoyance, depending on the mood you’re in when you listen, especially if you pay attention to the lyrics. He’s a bit more poetic these days, and with pleasing results, but you can’t help wondering what treasures he could write if he wrote something genuinely euphoric for once. (By the way, obsessive Cornell fans should be aware that the French release of this disc features a French version of “Can’t Change Me” as an exclusive bonus track.)