Review: Chris Cornell – Euphoria Morning

As with all my album reviews, this review of Chris Cornell’s Euphoria Morning is much belated. I am not trying to review current music, but things I have listended to previously and rediscovered, or albums I may have missed out on first time around. Being very much a mainstream rocker, I was aware of the Seattle scene, but didn’t love it. Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam were the highlights for me. I didn’t really get Nirvana, and although I listened I couldn’t stand Chris Cornell’s screaming on Soundgarden songs! So recently, I picked up a copy of Euphoria Morning, Cornell’s solo album, released two years after Soundgarden split up in 1997. I hadn’t read any reviews. I didn’t have any expectations.

First Impressions

Euphoria Morning initially was hard work. One of those albums you really have to make yourself listen to. Once you break through the ‘pain’ barrier, the songs begin to get stuck inside your head. The standout tracks for me were Preaching The End Of The World, Can’t Change Me and Follow My Way. Can’t Change Me starts the album off, with a guitar riff reminiscent of early Killer-era Alice Cooper (don’t let that put you off). This is followed by the very poppy, upbeat Fluttergirl which I didn’t expect from the Soundgarden screamer, but definately grows on you. Preaching The End Of The World, for me is the best track on the album. Cornell sings this one with quiet resignation, building up over the chorus. I’m tempted to say it’s like a modern take on Bowie’s Five Years. Whatever, I can’t get the song out of my head. Even Mrs Levee knows the words now!

Songs To Skip Over

In general, the later parts of the album start to blur a bit, but it’s still enjoyable to listen to. The real hooks are mostly in the first half. When I’m Down is probably the only song I can’t stand. It’s Cornell’s take on the blues, but to me sounds unconvincing – a bit like some of the tracks on Jimmy Page’s Outrider album.

Overall?

Overall, the album is a hit with me. It’s fair to say that the album lacks continuity stylistically. However, there are some very strong tracks to listen to – Follow My Way deserves a mention here! I was listening to Euphoria Morning in the car with Mrs Levee the other day and she refused to call it a rock album. Euphoria Morning is a surprise in that way. It carries Cornell’s trademark vocals, but replaces the harder rock of Soundgarden with a more laid back, earthy feel in the instrumentation. Cornell’s voice croons more on this album, but still soars over the more emotional lyrics. It’s not an attempt to continue the Soundgarden legacy (thank God).

This review was originally written by me on 1 December 2006 and has been posted on various places online over the last few years. I’ve moved it here to keep a complete archive of my single and album reviews from my entire blogging career.

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