As the frontman of Seattle hard rockers Soundgarden, Chris Cornell--with his soaring voice and classic rock star looks--became one of the most recognizable figures of the grunge movement. After Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, Cornell became involved in a number of collaborative projects before releasing his first solo album, EUPHORIA MORNING, in 1999. A collaboration with members of Rage Against the Machine in the early 2000s under the name Audioslave proved the biggest commercial success of the singer's career. The band's self-titled debut and its two follow-ups, OUT OF EXILE and REVELATIONS, went multi-platinum. Cornell continued to experiment with new musical directions on his solo releases, CARRY ON (2007) and SCREAM (2009), the latter of which was produced by hip-hop producer Timbaland and had a dance-pop influence.
Carry On is the 13th album by two-time Grammy winner, singer-songwriter and voice of a generation, Chris Cornell. Steered by Grammy Award-winning British super- producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Rolling Stones, Morrissey, Dave Matthews Band), Carry On is a mature and content departure from the acrimonious artist who brought us Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog.
The new album''s fourteen tracks offer the bluesy and soulful "Safe and Sound," psychedelic "Scar On The Sky," country-flavored "Finally Forever"... paeans to persistence in "Disappearing Act" and a slow-grind cover of Michael Jackson''s "Billy Jean" that gives the familiar song a completely new feeling. More personal selections include "Ghost," "Arms Around Your Love" and "She''ll Never Be Your Man" and alt-rock experimentations ("Killing Birds" the anthemic "Silence the Voices"). Fans of Soundgarden and Audioslave will appreciate the harder edge of "No Such Thing" and "Poison Eye" and the redemptive "Your Soul Today."
Carry On also includes the Top 10 European smash hit "You Know My Name," the main title song for the current James Bond theatrical release, Casino Royale, appearing for the first time on a full-length release. Cornell wrote and recorded the track with long-time James Bond composer David Arnold for the film.
With this collection of songs, it is evident that Cornell was inspired by songwriters from Elvis Costello to Tom Waits. Cornell says that his own lyrical approach leans on stream-of-consciousness, "getting out of my own way" to allow themes to naturally arise, whether topical or biographical. "The most exciting thing is to let yourself expose your true, vulnerable feelings, which is what resonates with people most," he explains. As far as his vocal style, he points to such R&B singers as Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin for showing masterfully how emotion can best be conveyed, even in subtle phrasing, also praising Bob Marley''s expressive range and Tom Waits'' use of his voice as an instrument.
Change has been a constant in Chris Cornell''s life since Soundgarden split in 1997. Sober and over 40 now, he lives in France with his wife and daughter. His first solo album (1999''s Euphoria Morning) was lauded in the press, but disregarded by the public. And his supergroup Audioslave eventually fizzled after a trio of albums. But on Cornell''s long-awaited sophomore solo effort, it''s obvious something hasn''t been altered: the voice, a distinguished instrument still pure and resonant--and authoritative enough to take on Michael Jackson''s "Billie Jean" and turn it from throbbing dancefloor anthem to portentous ballad. The unforeseen cover is sequenced midway through 14 tracks that have Cornell softening the edges of his music without losing the power of the messenger. No less than a half-dozen songs have hit potential, including "Arms Around Your Love," with its soaring chorus, the R&B-flecked "She''ll Never Be Your Man," and "No Such Thing," where restrained verses give way to crunchy-riffed choruses. He uses the bluesy "Safe and Sound" to call for peace, asking "Why can''t we pull it together?" Ten years after the breakup of his pioneering band, Chris Cornell has done just that, and it''s evident that the change has done him good. --Scott Holter
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