Let’s get the formality of an introduction out of the way; something Chris Cornell surpassed requiring many, many a year ago. But, for the sake of being proper… Famed for his roles in the mammoth Soundgarden and fantastic Audioslave, Chris is no stranger to musical success. Appearing on various artists’ albums from Alice In Chains to Alice Cooper, he has dabbled with music extensively; his three solo albums have caused split reactions at times, but now he’s presented us with his fourth solo record – the acoustic offering ‘Songbook’.
Overall, it easily ticks the generalised prerequisites of an acoustic album. It’s relaxing, it’s smooth and it’s got enough variety to avoid becoming tediously repetitive; in fact, Chris doesn’t even come close to bordering boring. Chris Cornell’s vocals are simply sublime; his range is wonderful and something as reserved and stripped back as his cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ is completely superb to listen to. His version is simplistic, but remains raw and fantastic.
‘The Keeper’, the new track of the album with its own video, offers a relatively intricate, delicate guitar backing to Chris’s soft vocals. Relatively upbeat, there’s a nice balance between the slower, quieter numbers and the more bouncy tracks. His cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’ is just a nice, straight forward version of a great song.
Offering a treat for fans of his various works and musical outfits over the years, he presents acoustic versions of the likes of Audioslave’s ‘Wide Awake’ and Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’. Stripping them back to their bare acoustic essentials, Chris truly sells his musical capability by incorporating numbers from his other bands in a similar vein to the rest of the record. While the record is recorded in a live setting, tracks like Soundgarden’s ‘Fell On Black Days’ offers more of a dialogue from Chris at the track’s opening.
‘Songbook’ is a nice little album. While it holds the typical flaunts of most acoustic albums, it holds one flaunt other acoustic albums do not – Chris Cornell’s vocals. While the album flits between subdued to more upbeat acoustic numbers, his tight and vast vocal capacity is the true flaunt of this record. Need further proof of that? Just listen to ‘Doesn’t Bother Me’.
Songbook is due for release November 21st. You can pre-order your copy here.