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Euphoria Morning

Chris Cornell

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Album Review

With Down on the Upside, it was clear that Soundgarden, while still strong, was no longer the ideal vehicle for its frontman Chris Cornell. He sounded much more comfortable on Superunknown, the first Soundgarden album that broke free from the Sab-Zep restraints, allowing him to indulge in psychedelia. That, along with his stellar contribution to the Singles soundtrack, suggested that Cornell had aspirations of being a singer/songwriter, so it's not a surprise at all that he decided to tie those two loose ends together to provide the foundation for his solo debut album, Euphoria Morning. Those expecting a slab of metal from Euphoria Morning will be disappointed, but it's hard to feel sorry for them, since they were evidently not really listening to the last few Soundgarden records. There's no question that it's a rock album, but it's a shaded, textured rock album, lacking the grinding sludge and furious rock that were his previous band's stock-in-trade, yet it's undeniably of a piece with Superunknown. Thankfully, Euphoria Morning doesn't have the shiny arena rock gloss that Michael Beinhorn gave Soundgarden's masterpiece. True, it is a clean, big production, but it's organic, which means that it doesn't sound unnatural when Cornell dives into blues ("When I'm Down") or when he suggests Radiohead with the beginning of "Preaching the End of the World." That kind of flexibility is what was missing from Down on the Upside, and it keeps Euphoria Morning fascinating, since it's unclear what's coming next, even if it all sounds of a piece. It's a mature album without being overly somber. It could be argued that it sounds a little too mature and possibly a little self-conscious, but that just emphasizes the real craft behind Euphoria Morning. Cornell knew exactly where he wanted to go as a solo artist, and he's achieved it. If it doesn't satisfy some dyed-in-the-wool Soundgarden fans, that's too bad, since it will undoubtedly win the affections of open-minded listeners who haven't before considered him a serious songwriter or musician. [A&M's 2001 U.K. edition included one bonus track.]

Biography

Born: 20 July 1964 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Originally finding success as the frontman of Seattle's Soundgarden, rock vocalist Chris Cornell forged a successful career after the band's 1997 demise, both with the supergroup Audioslave and as a diverse solo artist. Born in Seattle on July 20, 1964, his music career didn't take shape until he was a teenager, when he began playing drums in a local cover band. Although he spent most of his teenage years as a loner, rock music helped Cornell overcome his uneasiness around others. After dropping...
Full bio