Euphoria: a feeling of well-being or elation; especially : one that is groundless, disproportionate to its cause, or inappropriate to one's life situation (Courtesy of Dictionary.com)
Chris Cornell, most known for his work with soundgarden, cranked out his first and only solo cd in September of '99. I was never really into Soundgarden at the time and had no idea what to expect from this disc. I heard the song "Can't Change Me", which was the only single that got a lot of airplay around where I live, and loved it. I got the CD in christmas. Around that time I was in my Nu-Metal, judge-the-music-on-the-usage-of-profanity-and-heaviness Stage. I was rather immature musically at this time, and over looked this masterpiece. This album has a wide range of songs, to cover many moods. Many songs can invoke multiple moods, which is a key element to this cd. Now for some detail...
On Euphoria Morning, Cornell worked with his friends in the band Eleven. Natasha Shneider and Alain Johannes lent their keyboard and guitar skills to the album. Looking back on the album, I see a couple elements of Eleven's music appear. This album also has a some of the best songwriting that I've heard.
Preaching the End of the World is a beautiful mostly acoustic track about finding a friend to spend the last moments of existance with. Cornell's vocals, like just about every single song on this album, are top notch. He truely is one of the best singers in the music buisness. The acoustic guitar provides a solid basis for this song, while the lead guitar sounds fairly reminiscant of some of Elevens work. It does a lot of quirky kind of melodies throught the song and has a chorus type effect with some wah on it which just adds to the spacey feel. Despite the name, there really isn't an apolocalyptic element to this song. It's actually one of the happier songs on the album.
Wave Goodbye follows in the trend of quirky tones. Very wah dominated in the guitar department, but it sounds very tight with the rest of the band. The lyrics are very solid, helping it break away for most of the "I Miss You" crap that I hear on the radio these days. It speaks truth, not sappy cliches. The bridge of this shows off some very impressive vocal work, backed by some cool bass work. The defining thing in this song however, is the tone and melody of the guitar. It gives a feel of being lost and confused, without seeming in despair or depression. This really helps the song feel original.
Pillow of Your Bones is probably the darkest song on the album. Its holds a rockier feel, while still being predominately acoustic. The pre-chorus features some more of the opera-esque vocals that showed up in Wave Goodbye, which lead up to the chorus very nicely. The chorus is stellar with a pretty cool vocal melody. The highlight of this song is the bridge tho. It calms down to just vocals and some Cello(") with some creepy overdubs. Before kicking in with some very powerful acoustic guitar and some of the best singing on the album. The final chorus gives a great climax to the song, with some great drumming. Definitely the darkest song on the album.
Sweet Euphoria is brings out the melancholy with a very "lonely" sounding song. This is a solo acoustic song, that features some very mellow vocals from Cornell. I love to see his soaring range as much as the next person, but this fits perfectly. This one really grew on me, as I wasn't really feeling the minimalism. However, I now find this to be one of the most beautiful songs on the disc. The lyrics are probably the most cryptic on the album, and I love lines like "Time wilts like flowers/Sleeping on landmine pillows/With dying angels". I enjoy it.
The biggest highlight of this album for me When I'm Down. This song shows off everything and is placed perfectly in the middle of the disc. It starts off with some beautiful piano and vocals before the whole band kicks in. Even after this it keeps the mellow tone it has going for it, until the chorus. The chorus gets more of a sense of urgency, and Cornells vocals and lyrics are perfect. This song can still go either way, sad or happy. A guitar solo follows directly. This is perfectly placed and has some great backing by some chill lounge type female singing in the background. Then we have the last verse, which more or less decides that this is more of a sad love song. "I know you hold/Precious little hope for me/And in your happiness/I'm always drowning in my grief." Cornells vocals for the last 2 minutes here are his most beautiful and heartfelt on this cd, if not ever IMO. This is the most beautiful heartbreak/love song I've ever heard, and it can be either of those. Its one of those songs that you can listen to sad, happy, or just in between...but at the end you will feel something. And therein lies the beauty my friends.
-Not So Highlight-
There is one lowpoint in this album, and it starts at Track 6 with a song called Mission. I recall that he remixed this song for the M:I2 soundtrack...and it didn't help it at all. The lyrics seem to shoot for veangance...but the music just does not fit. Its got that spacy feel of Wave Goodbye and PTEOFW, but it doesn't work for a song about "Tearing all your temples down." The lyrics and vocals, while impressive, just do not fit the music. This is the edgiest song on the record, and I would expect more from an edgier song from Cornell. It has one redeeming quality...its different. But theres enough of that on this cd already, no need to take it further.
So there ya have it, those tracks pretty much some up what you're going to get from this album. This is a great addition to anyone's collection, if you can appreciate good songwriting. I think that this is Cornell at his finest. His vocals supercede those of soundgardens, as well as the songwriting. And in all honesty...none of audioslaves stuff can touch this record. However, I reccommend it to fans of both. The only thing about this cd, is that it leaves me longing for another solo disc...oh well. Maybe someday.
Chris Cornell - Euphoria Morning