Chris Cornell - Songbook

Holy Fuck, Chris Cornell can really really sing.

I like Chris Cornell.  I like Soundgarden.  I wouldn't say I love either, but I definitely dig both.  Have seen Audioslave live, as well as Soundgarden, but will get to that below.  So I don't have to type out 'Soundgarden' a thousand times here, let's call them 'SG' for the purpose of our discussion.  Chris Cornell, we'll call 'CC'.  I just saved us both half an hour there.

First time I saw SG was at Lollapalooza, forever ago (editors note, 1992).  Let me tell you how long ago that was.  Pearl Jam was just breaking.  Pearl Jam was given the 2 pm slot on a show that went to midnight.  That tells you how little they were at the time.  SG had about an 8 pm time slot.  This was back when CC more or less screamed everything.  Everything.  If you know CC as a singer of any kind, go back to early SG releases.  All dude did was scream.  They had great riffs and songs, though.  Listen to this one.  It's called 'Outshined' and I can't think of a better and heavier riff than that.

So, at this time, I was aware of CC as the screamer dude from Soundgarden.  Liked him, didn't love him.  Right about this very minute, Temple of the Dog is happening. (editors note 1990)  I was unaware of it at this point, though.  If I had an editor, he would inject the timelines here).  So, the Singles movie soundtrack comes out and my backstore neighbor has it.  What?  He didn't live next door, he lived behind us.

That was when I heard 'Seasons'.  That song changed everything in my mind.  At that moment, CC and SG raced past Pearl Jam in my mind as the premiere grunge and songwriting talent.  It's a beautiful song, and the singing is fucking amazing.  Seriously.  So, dude can sing after all... and not just scream.  Ok, I am in.  Where do we go from here, CC?

Well, CC bails on SG, which was the right thing to do.  He had outgrown them, and their sound.  He went on to do AudioSlave.  I saw them live, I was not impressed even a little.  His voice was shot that night.  I didn't think of it as a one off, though.   I assumed screaming for 20 years like an idiot on fire had destroyed his voice.  So, I literally wrote CC off for good.  He was like my youth - great memories, but there is nothing here for us anymore.  You can't go home again.  It's not you, it's me.  You get the idea.

Btw, in case you don't get good Seasons really is, here is a live version you jaded asshole.  Yeah, crazy good.  So, fast forward ten years and I hear a live track from 'Songbook'.  Songbook is a live record of various original songs of his throughout the years (even a Temple of the Dog track!).  It was done last year, 2012, I believe  (editors note, it was 2011).  It literally took a couple years to get to me.  I knew it existed, but wasn't interested in hearing it, knowing his voice was shot.

Turns out I was wrong!  That night in Denver on the AudioSlave tour must have been an anamoly.  Dude can still sing.  In fact, he can sing better, and with more control, than he ever did.  Long story short, buy this.  It is beautiful and powerful.


Neil Lantros said…
wow, same story here. almost identical.
Scream is a great album too.

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