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Rock - Released November 16, 2018 | A&M

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | HIP-O (Geffen AM)

After spending over a decade avoiding his past, Chris Cornell reconnected with it in a big way during 2010. First, he reunited with Soundgarden, their tour so successful it spilled over into a studio collaboration interrupted by Cornell launching an acoustic tour where he revisited his catalog, quite definitively tying his solo career and time with Audioslave to Soundgarden. Songbook is a live album culled from this tour and has Cornell sampling from all phases of his career, often spinning harder-rocking songs into moody reflective territory. Unlike his solo debut, Euphoria Morning, this never sounds solipsistic; Cornell is engaged, looking outward to the audience, giving subtly forceful performances that often rescue overlooked tunes -- including selections from his electronica makeover Scream -- and freshen up familiar songs, including covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” He sounds at peace with his past and comfortable with his present, and that casual assurance makes Songbook his best solo offering to date. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released September 18, 2015 | UMe Direct 2

Chris Cornell flew toward the sun with 2009's Scream but he got burned. The Timbaland-produced album marked a sudden shift toward electronic pop, a move that did not sit well with either critics or Cornell's audience, but he didn't react swiftly to the derision. He moved slowly, revisiting his catalog on 2011's Songbook and then reuniting with Soundgarden before releasing Higher Truth some six years after Scream. Hiring producer Brendan O'Brien, a fellow veteran of the grunge wars of the '90s, suggests Cornell is backpedaling from the chilly electro surfaces of his last solo album, but Higher Truth isn't quite a retreat. Cornell possess an easy, quiet confidence throughout this handsome, burnished record, an album that occasionally recalls the breaking twilight of Euphoria Mourning but feels warmer and looser than that 1999 solo debut. Despite the ornate accouterments of the opener "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart" -- a pop single so stately it's almost Baroque -- Higher Truth isn't especially dramatic. O'Brien favors subtle shading over bombast, so even when the tracks are built up with pianos, strings, harmonies, and fuzz guitars, it feels intimate, almost acoustic. This illusion persists because there are a fair share of spare, delicate solo numbers here, interwoven among those bolder but still quiet pop tunes. While Higher Truth never seems as self-consciously confessional as Euphoria Mourning, this mellow simplicity is an attribute: a relaxed Cornell creates a comforting mood piece that's enveloping in its warmth. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released September 21, 1999 | A&M Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2008 | Mosley - Interscope

In case you didn't catch the symbolism, Chris Cornell is smashing a guitar on the cover of Scream because he's done with those six-strings -- he's leaving it all behind for Timbaland, who has long wanted to leave hip-hop and R&B behind to make a rock album. If this seems like the pair are working at cross-purposes to achieve the same goal, that's as accurate an assumption as the guess that the two are abandoning their strengths, even their sense of self, in a bizarre shared middle-age crisis. Scream is one of those rare big-budget disasters, an exercise in misguided ambition that makes no sense outside of pure theory. As an idea, this rock-dance fusion isn't without merit; clearly, Cornell needs to do something to shake himself out of his solo stupor and Timbaland is an imaginative, daring producer whose gifts are not limited by genre, but this isn't a collaboration, it's a car collision. As much as they want to stretch, neither Cornell nor Timbaland are willing to leave their comfort zone or -- perhaps more accurately -- are able to leave the familiar behind. Timbaland's productions never approach rock in sound or form but to be fair, his tracks are often augmented by additional production by anyone from Justin Timberlake to OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, who brings his contributions as close to anonymous radio fodder as he possibly can. Whoever was directly responsible, Scream winds up sounding like skittering, generic dance-pop, the kind of thing that Timbaland contributes for a high price to a Pussycat Dolls album, only graced by Cornell's caterwaul, sometimes looped, sometimes manipulated by Auto-Tune because that's what you do with a pop album in 2009. Cornell's growl clashes against the cold, clinking rhythm tracks -- not in a challenging way, just in a jarring one, drawing attention to the chasm between the two collaborators. Then again, Scream never seems like a collaboration, it seems like it was assembled by committee, discussed in boardrooms, farmed out to contract players and stitched together on computer. This might make for a mess, but Scream does have one advantage of Chris Cornell's other solo albums: as bad as it is, it is never, ever boring. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released November 16, 2018 | A&M

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Mosley - Interscope

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | HIP-O (Geffen AM)

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | HIP-O (GEF AM)

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Mosley - Interscope

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Mosley - Interscope

$1.49

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | HIP-O (Geffen AM)

$1.49

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | HIP-O (Geffen AM)

$12.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | HIP-O (Geffen AM)

$1.49

Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | HIP-O (Geffen AM)

$7.49

Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2007 | Interscope

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