Review Summary: Cornell leaves his mothership, to take on a strange new route, experimenting and discovering; striking gold in the process.
While Soundgarden might have been a very cohesive group, a unit; one man was always at the front, holding the ropes and, occasionally, dragging them. It was Chris Cornell, the volatile belting machine from the Northwest. So it was no surprise that, upon the disbandment of the band, Cornell was the one to achieve an admirable solo career. It all started with the now infamous Euphoria Morning.
It's nothing you would expect from a Soundgarden record, probably because it isn't a Soundgarden record – it is solely and exclusively Chris. Those that have closely listened to Superunknown might see his growth as a singer/songwriter, and Euphoria shows it on a whole new, more intimate level. Indeed, this is a personal record, a journal of emotions, ranging from melancholy, nostalgia, to good ol' blues and, of course, euphoria. It is such emotional investment that fuels this record, rarely soaring with it, but plunging deep into abysses of the soul, treading it's murkiest waters.
Where Soundgarden flirted with psychedelia, Euphoria makes love to it, using it as a vehicle of discovery; finding ways to bind blues, soul, gospel and gritty rock into strange entities. In theory, this shouldn't work, it doesn't seem natural, but with Cornell's artistic touch it flows and lingers perfectly. On top of it all, lie the vocals, as, of course, the heart of the candy. The man wails and croons, belts and shrieks; wistfully, honestly and warmly.
It's not an album everyone will embrace at first listen, it's an intimate recording that will aim straight for the hearts of those who listen carefully and with an open mind. It has an atmosphere of a typical cult classic, a hidden gem you keep in a special drawer, admiring it when there's nobody around.
While basically every song is a good listen, some of them are a notch above the others. One of those is certainly When I'm Down, a piano driven blues number that captures you from the off. Others include Follow My Way and Steel Rain, both psychedelic 'lazy' songs, set in a slow, dragging rhythm, but with an atmospheric instrumental, and outstanding vocals.