Okay, I'm an open-minded person who tries to see past others' opinions of music or art or film to find some genuine source of creativity and originality. I've read the online opinions of various celebrity musicians regarding this release and let's face it: they have not been kind.
Still, I was a big Soundgarden fan and find Cornell's voice to be rather impressive, so I held out hope for this album; that Chris would finally find his own 'voice', his own style. Sadly, I think he's picked the wrong producer -- Timbaland -- and this has resulted in a distortion of what I imagine his original concept for the album was.
'Part of Me' is an abomination. I can't even begin to describe it. Suffice to say, it's Timbaland at his worst. I don't even get the appeal of that guy; every time he produces one of my favourite musicians, their albums suck.
'Time' sounds a bit like Peter Gabriel, a bit like a boy band, a bit funk...you get my drift? It's just...confusing.
Oh...is this the third song, 'Sweet Revenge', now? I didn't notice the difference from the last song. Way too much autotuning in this album for someone who can sing. I think Timbaland is used to working with girls who can't sing and only have a recording career because they're willing to dress like prostitutes. This song makes me visualise Chris wearing baggy pants and dancing with a bunch of other boys a la a Britney Spears music clip. Oh god. I can't listen to this track anymore.
For the fourth track, 'Get Up', at least Chris sounds sort of like himself...ah shit, there goes the autotune again. What's with the canned drums? Couldn't they afford a real drummer? Um...
Fifth track: the 'originally' titled 'Ground Zero'. On this track, Cornell is doing an impersonation of Terence Trent d'Arby. Remember him from the '80s? If not, look him up. He's WAY better than this piece of tripe.
Sixth track: 'Never far Away'. The lack of subtlety in this album is what is pissing me off at the moment. I can mix music better than this, and all I did was date someone doing a music technology course once, where I helped out every weekend in the studio. It's just all so in your face, and not in a good, full-on, way. This is an album made by some second rate singer who some producer has considered might have a career if their music sounds like all the other crap on the airwaves. Not Chris, who has way more talent than this, I'm sure. Who the hell is guiding his musical career at the moment and directing his choices? They should be shot...well, at least pounded a little.
Okay, I am searching the album now for one track -- just one -- that stands out and shows some promise. Aha, 'Take me Alive' sounds like Chris. Is this the track he was allowed to have control of? I wonder. Has a middle-eastern rhythm and oh my god...there are some guitars!!! Oooh, it was going so well and then they introduced a bevy of backing singers...? Keep it simple, Chris. Keep it simple. If this song was released as a single and I bought the album based on it, I'd be rather annoyed because the rest of the album is so terrible.
'Scream' could've been okay if the over the top drum programming hadn't been included.
Look, I could continue but it would just be cruel. This album is a terrible release from such an experienced musician who should be able to do better. It manages to thoroughly destroy Chris' reputation as a musician with integrity and will alienate all of his old fans. This album is only something that might be picked up by 17 year-olds with some spare cash, who like any kind of overly produced pap.
And for the record, I think co-executive producer / mixer / engineer Demacio 'Demo' Castellon should be out of a job for this miserable example of destroying the personality and essence of a musician during the mixing process.
This album was reviewed for The Dwarf.