I Drink My Way Through the New Chris Cornell Album (or, What the Fuck is Wrong with Me?) Pt. 1


Okay. It’s Saturday night. The girlfriend is out of town, friends are busy, but I have a few tall beers from the Ninkasi Brewery in Eugene, Oregon. Might as well crack one open and listen to… the new Chris Cornell album. The one that Timbalind produced.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Well, you gotta make your own damn fun in the world sometimes so I’ve decided to get drunk enough to sit through Chris Cornell’s entire Scream album and write a review of it. Why would I do this? I do it for you, my loyal 6 to 9 readers (on average). For your entertainment. And edification.  I’m doing this more or less live, and I’ll go back and proofread it later. These are my unfiltered feelings on Scream.

9:19 pm. It Begins – My first beer of the night is the Ninkasi Tricerahops, their double – double – IPA. Special thanks to Jacques for the Ninkasi brews.

All right, Cornell, do your worst.

His worst is pretty bad, and damned if he hasn’t been trying to do his worst ever since Soundgarden broke up. I was a huge fan of theirs, especially Badmotorfinger and Superunknown. I know the radio made you sick of “Black Hole Sun,” but that album is straight up raucous from start to finish. But enough about that. Let’s live in the now.

Scream starts off with a synthesized horn fan-fare, the kind of obvious douchebag maneuver I’d expect from Kanye West. That introduces “Part of Me,” the chorus of which is “No, that bitch ain’t a part of me.” This all sung in Cornell’s whiny new R&B voice. Timbalind, in his infinite wisdom, decided to digitize Cornell’s voice on the chorus so that Cornell sounds like Megatron. Except I don’t recall Megatron ever being such a blatant fucking misogynist. If anyone in my band wrote a song this bad, I’d assault them. That is how bad this is. Ya know how Trent Reznor’s recent output has been kinda middlin’ lately? Well, upon hearing Scream, he Twittered (or “Twatted” as Stephen Colbert puts it) that he felt embarrassed for Chris Cornell. Me too, Trent. Me too.

“Part of Me” is waaaaaaaaaay too long. Tricerahops to the rescue! The song ends with a guitar flourish right out of 80’s Journey. Meaning it ends with a shitty guitar doodle.

9:25: MTV Party to Go – The songs seem to all blend together, as “Time” has started immediately from the Journey-esque shitstorm that ends “Part of Me”. You know, like those old MTV Party mix tapes they used to have? The chorus of “Time” consists of Cornell singing the word “Time” over and over in his Woman-hating Megatron voice and occasionally caterwauling “I wish we could rewind.” I think he means he wishes he could rewind time. I wish I could rewind time too, Chris. I’d go back to 9pm tonight and decide to listen to Middle Cyclone for the gazillionth time instead of taking  on this fool’s errand…. but no. I must not waver. It’s you or me, Chris Cornell/Megatron. And I have good beer on my side.

9:30: Chris Cornell Hates Your Girlfriend – “Nowadays I think like a woman/ I’ve been looking for blood,” Cornell sings on “Sweet Revenge.” Perhaps Audioslave broke up because the progressive chaps who used to be in Rage Against the Fact that We Sound Like the Beastie Boys grew tired of Chris Cornell’s constant misogynist tirades.  Wait. No. Audioslave broke up because they fucking sucked. Anyway… “Sweet Revenge” has a completely Auto-Tuned chorus. It’s as if Cornell and Timbalind set out to make a party album for douchebags who want to throw a theme party where the theme is “Proving the Utter Extent of Our Douchebaggery.” Scream is the Platonic ideal of douchebaggery.

9:36: Not nearly drunk enough – Fuck fuck fuck. I’m only four songs into this motherfucker. I’m listening to a song called “Get Up.” I used to think Chris Cornell had a good voice, but Timbalind apparently doesn’t think so because Cornell doesn’t seem to sing a single note on Scream that isn’t covered in digital jizz. “Get Up” has a guitar part toward the end that is exactly the kind of distorted guitar part you would use if you were an over-rated pop producer who has clearly never heard anyone play a real electric guitar.

“Get Up” has meandered into “Ground Zero.”  “Ground Zero” has less digital bullshit, but there’s still plenty of digital bullshit. This seems to be one of the platitude-filled, trite-ass (trite-cera-tops?) “positive” songs that Cornell has been coughing up lately (think “Be Yourself,” that really shitty single off the last Audiosuck album.  When I was a kid, he sang “I know I’m headin’ for the bottom/ but I’m riding you all the way.” That’s way more compelling than this shit)

9:42 p.m. Oh fuck. A love song – “Never Far Away” is next and the Megatron voice is back singing about how “You are the road I travel/ you were the words I write”. Wait a minute. Five songs ago, this asshole wanted “the girl/ but not what she’s going through.” We’re supposed to believe that this same motherfucker’s soul is saved by his lady love? (Not making this up. He sings, “I don’t have to pray anymore/ because my soul is saved”). The chorus of this song is unintelligible, but seems like it wouldn’t be out of place in a Nickelback song. Hey, Timbalind! You clearly hate music. Why not raise the stakes a little next time out and produce a Nickelback album? Can you make them worse?

Note: I’m gonna cap each part of this review at about 1000 words, so be sure to stay tuned for parts 2 through Whatever.

9:48 p.m. This is good beer – I’m halfway through. This song is called “Take Me Alive.” In the immortal words of J. Alfred Prufrock, I’d prefer not to (this beer is quite effective; not only is it delicious, but I’m buzzed enough that I can’t remember if the Eliot poem to which I’m referring is called “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” or not. I may have added the “J.”)


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