I now feel like I didn't give Euphoria Morning enough credit for having interesting arrangements and production. I've come to find out Chris Cornell essentially had the band Eleven backing him up for that album - I'm going to guess they were partially responsible for some of the more creative musical arrangements, because despite those Soundgarden comparisons I kept making, it had sort of a unique sound to it, which this album sort of lacks. He's still sometimes throwing in some stylistic changes, for better (the slightly funky "She'll Never Be Your Man") or worse (The slow blues-style "Billy Jean" cover is interesting in theory but in reality it's sort of ridiculous and narmy), but for the most part this just sounds like either typical adult alternative or a less heavy Audioslave. The "less heavy" aspect isn't necessarily a bad thing, mind you, in it's current state his voice sounds a little better not having to compete as much with Tom Morrello, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, and of course the fifth member of Audioslave, Compression
. Overall, the first installment still wins, but this is still pretty good. Oh, also "You Know My Name" from Casino Royale
is on here, and that's a pretty indisputably awesome song.
No Such Thing, You Know My Name, She'll Never Be Your Man
You have no idea how ridiculous it is to hear the end of "You Know My Name" immediately followed by a cheesy synth fanfare and a robotic voice mumbling about Chris Cornell over pseudo-mid-eastern music, which is in turn followed by a typically robotic Timbaland beat. I guess this
is what I get for wishing Cornell would get out of his comfort zone a little more. The music is generally pretty good - sort of the mix of hip-hop beats, synth-pop style keyboards, and strings that Timbaland tends to be known for. The thing is Cornell's voice just does not work in that context, and coupled with lyrics like "That bitch ain't a part of me", the results are frequently either So Bad, It's Good
(the aforementioned "Part Of Me") or just bad. Sometimes there are
signs that this could have worked if the two weren't under the bizarre impression that they were going to make dance-floor-filling club hits together - "Take Me Alive" is an honestly pretty cool thanks to a slinky, non-intrusive beat and a nice sitar-esque guitar line, and some of the ballads like "Long Gone" are pleasant enough. It's a huge failed experiment, but I guess at least it's kind of an interesting one.
Take Me Alive, Part Of Me (for the So Bad, It's Good