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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.

Customer Reviews

iPod Garage reviews Euphoria Morning by Chris Cornell

After a day and a half of not being able to listen to anything but this album, I can tell you that it's definitely a keeper. I've always felt that Chris Cornell had the purest voice in the entire alternative rock genre, and part of what's made both of his bands (Soungarden and Audioslave) stand out is his ability to take that pure voice and lay it over top of some rather, uh, LOUD material and yet still have it consistently shine through all the noise. If you've ever wondered what his voice would sound like with nothing but ambient sounds behind him, Euphoria Morning answers that question in a manner both pleasant and surprising. "Can't Change Me" kicks off the album as something of a bridge between Soundgarden and the rest of the solo material. It starts with something of a "Soundgarden at half speed" tack until something that you're quite sure is a guitar solo ends in a manner that has you looking back and asking yourself if it wasn't a harmonica solo instead. It's at this point you realize that, for better or worse, synthesizers are going to play a role in this album. And while that thought might have Soundgarden fans heading for the hills and Audioslave fans wanting to light something on fire, the keyboards on this album are actually better more than often they're worse. While some of the sounds on the second track "Flutter Girl" might sound just a bit over-the-top artificial, the song manages to capture something of a late-era Beatles vibe, along with a heavy Asian influence. It shouldn't come as a surprise, as Cornell seemingly couldn't cram enough of either of those two particular styles into Soundgarden's masterpiece Superunknown. Any connection to his earlier band is gone, though, by the third track as Cornell lays bare a gentle set of vocals accompanied by acoustic guitar that shape up not as a power ballad but instead simply as a pure ballad. This leads into the epic and fairly psychedelic "Follow My Way" which, quite honestly, doesn't fit into a single rock music subcategory I can think of. You'd never hear a song like this on any radio station, which is an indictment of radio and not of this song. It's one of those wonderfully intricate works that you could listen to on repeat for hours on end, and hear something different in it each and every time. Cornell begins to change up styles from song to song from that point onward. Whereas "When I'm Down" borders on Harry Connick, "Wave Goodbye" brings a gentle funk to the mix. But the dreamy "Moonchild" marks the departure point from which, at the time, I was quite sure Chris Cornell would never go back to making loud rock music again. As borderline cheesy as the song is, it shows where the man's voice truly shines, and that's on breezy material such as this. Most singers couldn't pull off a "Moonchild" without coming off like some kind of latter-day Neil Diamond, but Cornell's faultless voice allows him to go places that others would dare not trek. And as if just to rub it in, he then spends three full minutes showing doing not but showing off his vocal talents on "Sweet Euphoria" which doesn't even so much as feature a rhythm section -- and for that matter doesn't need one. If this album is so good, how come it never went anywhere? Well, a variety of reasons conspired to keep it from getting off the ground. For one thing, if Cobain's 1994 suicide signaled that alt-rock's days were numbered, Soundgarden's 1996 breakup represented the official end of the genre. And while some of us alt-rock fans hunkered down and decided to wait for rock music to get good again (for the record, it still hasn't quite happened), others left their alt-rock past behind and moved on for flourishing pastures elsewhere. Three years later Chris Cornell releases a solo album and the only way anyone was going to pay attention was if it was billed as a "solo project from the guy from Soundgarden," but that very mention got Euphoria Morning unfairly lumped in a genre that no one was still paying attention to. And worse, any Soundgarden fans who did take the plunge fully expecting to hear Superunknown II were in for the shock of their lives once they got past the opening track. I can't tell you with certainty whether you'll like this album. If your reason for liking Soundgarden and Audioslave is that they're both noisy, then you might be in for a disappointment. But if your primary draw to those two bands is the uniqueness and purity of the voice that fronts both of them, then Euphoria Morning just might work for you. It's offbeat throughout, some of it almost uncategorizable, but every single song is intriguing in its own way, and although it almost goes without saying, they're all sung quite well. It's gentle in a way that makes it almost the antithesis of the genre for which Cornell is best-known, but it's powerful in its own unique way. If nothing else, it's a rather fascinating look at what was really going on during those six years in which rock history forgot Chris Cornell even existed.

Amazing, personal & REAL album

Unfortunately many singers who do a solo album after being in a very successful band will turn out a mediocre vanity project with no real thought put into it. I am so happy to say that 'Euphoria Morning' is the complete opposite of that- in fact this album contains some of Chris Cornell's best work in his overall career (and that's saying A LOT.) Right away you can get into this just because of the quality of Chris's voice, it is one of the strongest, most melodic and unique voices in rock music. The instrumentals on this are perfectly suited to his voice- they do not try to overpower or cover up his voice, but they do intricately make the songs well-rounded and gorgeous. Personally lyrics matter a lot to me, whether or not I connect with certain music is a lot of times based on the sincerity of the writing. Cornell gets personal here with very emotional songs, but don't expect the whining that has become popular in "alternative" music these past few years. He manages to put pain into a lyrical, poetic and sometimes almost dreamlike way. You can connect with it on a deeper level or just enjoy the good writing on a more surface level. I recommend this to anyone that enjoys emotional, well thought-out music sung with one of the most amazing voices in rock music history. Just don't expect it to be anything like Soundgarden or Audioslave- it's not. My boyfriend (who is a serious musician and sometimes singer) also told me that this is a great cd to sing along to, and is good practice if you're working on hitting difficult low notes. Be prepared to add this to your 'most played' and 'top rated' lists- this album is euphoric.

Amazing album!!

This album is a true original, filled to the brim with melodies and hooks but in ways you've never heard before. Cornell sheds himself of the metal god persona for a stripped-down, but at the same time highly experimental venture. His voice simply soars on it, in ways he never tried with Soundgarden. But at the same time, he doesn't do Soundgarden-type stuff on it which is always missed. But for us who have really paid attention, his signature style is in abundance and is unrestricted for the first time. It will take at least 3 or 4 listens to really start to understand and love this album, but you WILL love it. It's highly introspective, somber at times, but not necessarily depressing at all. There's a ton of depth. It's not a drinking album, it's more of a morning-after album. Great for just closing your eyes to and letting fully sink in.

Biography

Born: July 20, 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...
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