CHRIS CORNELL – Higher Truth [Deluxe Edition] (2015)
From the moment he embarked on a solo career, Soundgarden frontman CHRIS CORNELL exposed himself as a bandleader who had dominated the songwriting in his former band but had also utterly depended on his old bandmates to give his music teeth. With his new album “Higher Truth”, though, Cornell finally carves out a space for his voice and songwriting to shine on their own merits.
Though on paper the acoustic-based arrangements that Cornell goes with here would seem to indicate a move back towards safer, more conservative ground, “Higher Truth” manages to be a more decisive step into new territory than he took in the past.
Reaching into influences he hasn’t had chance to truly explore in his group efforts, “Higher Truth” presents Cornell as a tortured bluesman with just a little dash of singer/songwriter blue collar man to smooth things over.
Teaming up with ever prolific rock producer Brendan O’Brien, the duo have managed to produce a tight twelve-track collection (+4 on this Deluxe Edition) that should keep the avid and casual fan happy.
There is no attempt to rewrite the book here, it’s rather a respectful stab at good old Acoustic Classic Rock, Soft Rock and Americana.
Opener ‘Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart’ sets the tone admirably with a little sparse bluegrass plucking that is soon accompanied by that unmistakable roar and solid drumming.
‘Josephine’ is a rock anthem, only disguising itself as a ballad. Following ‘Murderer Of Blue Skies’ makes a fine contrast with lyrics all about an urge to leave a bad relationship rather than praise one. See what you did there, Chris.
‘Only These Words’ presents some rather dark introspection with quite a jaunty acoustic riff and becomes the album’s poppiest moment (despite talk of fathers missing daughters).
Closer ‘Our Time In The Universe’ opts for a slight Arabic edge that doesn’t quite sit with the rest of the album’s numbers but does deliver one of its finest vocal performances.
“Higher Truth” is by no means groundbreaking but it’s damn solid and doesn’t truly contain a bad number. It shows Chris Cornell on his own, tackling the genre’s roots with a relaxed touch.
Chris’ vocals are still among the best in the business, and are the star in “Higher Truth”. To be honest, with his pipes, he could be singing an ode to baked beans and it’d still sound passable.
01 – Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart
02 – Dead Wishes
03 – Worried Moon
04 – Before We Disappear
05 – Through The Window
06 – Josephine
07 – Murderer Of Blue Skies
08 – Higher Truth
09 – Let Your Eyes Wander
10 – Only These Words
11 – Circling
12 – Our Time In The Universe
13 – Bend In The Road (bonus track)
14 – Wrong Side (bonus track)
15 – Misery Chain (bonus track)
16 – Our Time In The Universe [Remix] (bonus track)
Chris Cornell – vocals, guitar, bass, mandolin, programming
Matt Chamberlain – drums
Patrick Warren – piano
Ann Marie Simpson – strings
Brendan O’Brien – bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, percussion
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