Review Summary: "Come and knock me over, I'll keep getting up."
It would be more than fair to say that Chris Cornell was never one to repeat himself artistically throughout his 30+ year career, and his 4th solo release does not beg to argue otherwise. This is not the Chris Cornell from the mid-90s, who reigned well above most of his peers at the peak of Soundgarden's powers, screaming his lungs out to fan-beloved deep cuts like "The Day I Tried To Live" or "Never The Machine Forever." Neither is this the Chris Cornell from the later part of that same decade, who dared depart from the heavy and aggressive sound that first made him a recognizable force, all the while successfully proving himself as a versatile and experimentation-ready artist with Euphoria Mourning
. At most, one could say this record sees him reverting to the kind of candid and almost helpless vulnerability that Audioslave only hinted at in some of the best moments they had to offer, but even that can seem like somewhat of a stretch.
On an album like Higher Truth
, Chris reaches for a new ground, perhaps best defined by its warm comfort, as he reconnects with his inner Elliott Smith and/or Neil Young. Which is not to say that he necessarily sounds too much like either of those artists: he simply ditches possible distractions and finds strengths in his newfound sense of intimacy and individuality. Unquestionably, the vocalist always had a tender side to him, having rarely shied away from deep personal conflict and confessionalism in his lyrics. Temple Of The Dog, for instance, basically saw the then-26-year old pour his heart out in anguish, in the wake of the passing of his close friend Andrew Wood. However, both the short-lived project and his main outlet Soundgarden had the power of a full rock band behind him, that - while never outshining his presence - make the stripped-down approach to instrumentation on this album seem like an opportunity for his voice and lyrics to take center stage on an even more significant level. And, undeniably, it's a setting he relishes on.
For the most part, Cornell's voice seems disinterested in trying to extend its range and finds a fairly comfortable zone to exercise its charm, his raspy delivery sounding as delicate and gracious as catching up with an old friend. Age made him a more cautious and reflective individual than before, and on some occasions there's an almost tangible element of concern to his lyrics. He fears being disenfranchised on tracks such as "Worried Moon," and is scared of being pulled from his loved ones and feeling directionless on "Circling"; on the other hand, "Before We Disappear" and the gorgeous "Dead Wishes" find him reflecting on the cruelty and ephemerality of time, as the thought of trying to control every second in life only for it all to inevitably slip by his hands leaves him in dismay. But the beauty of Higher Truth
lies in its ability to remain hopeful in spite of the difficulties. Cornell conveys an image of resilience for every obstacle that seems intent on sidetracking him, be it in the form of the tender one-two punch of "Let Your Eyes Wander" and "Only These Words," or the confusingly antagonistic but lovable "Murderer Of Blue Skies." Cornell confronts life's pains, not with the intention of looking for answers but instead simply offering a friendly shoulder. The Eastern-tinged closer "Our Time In The Universe," then, bursts with vitality and, in spite of risking feeling out of place in what is an alternatively calm and mellow affair, is essential in showing him at his brightest and most lively.
"Come and knock me over, I'll keep getting up," he cries near the end of "Dead Wishes." Cornell always tries to look for a light at the end of tunnel, in hopes that not all is as bad as it seems. Hopefully it isn't. And the uplifting belief he tries to gather for himself is also all the more contagious to the listeners every time Higher Truth
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This was the only Cornell-related studio album without a review on Sputnik. Well, not anymore.
Feel free to send me any feedback, i'll make necessary edits tomorrow.
Nah, I trust 100% any user who uses Layne as a profile picture, that for me it's the equivalent of a PhD.
Album Rating: 3.0
glad this finally got a review. nearly forgot my broken heart is one of my favorite cornell songs
Digging: Cryptopsy - The Book of Suffering - Tome 1
Yeah this one deserved something, hopefully i made it justice.
Album Rating: 4.0
Sweet review Dan.
Only remember the opening track being pretty awesome. Will give it another spin soon. Sadly, the album as a whole will probably have more impact on me now than it had back then I guess...
top review, Dan.. only listened to Euphoria morning from his solo, should check this ..
Nice review, dan. I've never actually checked his solo stuff -- bar enjoying my favourite Bond song which was done by him.
Digging: Paradise Lost - Obsidian
Gonzo - his backing band and co-writers on Euphoria Morning are alain johanness and Natasha Schneider from the band Eleven and who played in Queens of the Stone Age during the Lullabies era.. it's a very decent album..
^ ya that album is pretty nice i will vouch for that
Digging: Nina Simone - I Put a Spell on You
Dav it's a great opening track but this has better moments imo, definitely go for it.
Butch this is on a different style but if you like folky singer-songwriter stuff i can see you getting some enjoyment out of it.
Oh and Euphoria is pretty great yeah.
I'll start there and give it a butchers then, man. cheers.
Album Rating: 4.0
seems like a very safe album for Cornell, but a sound he was very much a fan of.
Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart is nice
Album Rating: 4.0
Nice review, daniel, though feels a bit unfinished. The album definitely needed one, as it is another great piece of work by Cornell, that showed yet another side of his. Wanted to do one myself later, but you beat me to it.
Album Rating: 3.5
good review dan the man
this is a solid album but it lacks a proper amount of standout moments
Digging: Coldbones - The Cataclysm
Batareziz appreciate it, maybe it's because i don't have a proper closing paragraph per se but i dunno, i felt happy about it when i submitted. Is there anything you'd like me to add tho? And by all means write something yourself, i'd love to read it and this album could use more appreciation anytime :D
Mmm I don't think I heard this one... Great review Dan!
Digging: Triana - Un Encuentro
Album Rating: 4.0
daniel, you know, on the second readthough your review felt a lot better, I guess I got the flow of it. One suggestion: make the last four sentences (starting with the quote) a separate paragraph, and it should provide a more visible closure. Just a thought :D
Maybe I'll write my own review for this, but to be honest you said close to everything I would've said about the album, so in the end there may be no point in doing that. Again, nice review.
P.S. I think, to satisfy my Cornell fix I'll review Songbook then, it kind of led Chris to do Higher Truth the way he did it.
Thanks! Good suggestion bud : )
And yeah i'd love to see you write something for Songbook! Not sure if i rated it but i remember spinning it a couple of times, definitely a very interesting record and his vocals alone make it a great listen.
Album Rating: 4.0
Noted, daniel. Yeah, for me Songbook gave a first glimpse into the softer, folkier Cornell persona. It was almost on the level with MTV Unplugged one, which revealed yet another side of the guy you have on your picture and the band...
So I'll add it my to-review list :-)