Chris Cornell [Deluxe Box Set]

Chris Cornell

UMe, 2019

http://chriscornell.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/19/2019

This is a mother to deal with. Soon it will be two years since we lost Chris Cornell to suicide. What this four-disc deluxe box does is take the best of everything he ever did and showcase just how great a musician and singer he really was.

Disc one is basically a beginner’s guide to Soundgarden, showing off his early vocal prowess on songs like “Loud Love” and “Outshined.” A few relics are included, such as the interesting “Kingdom Of Come” and his collaboration with members of Pearl Jam for a 1993 Jimi Hendrix tribute album. Several songs from Soundgarden’s career have been excluded as they take on an eerie vibe now, including “Pretty Noose” and “The Day I Tried to Live,” exclusions which are completely justified.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Presented in chronological order, the box moves almost effortlessly through the many twists of turns of Cornell’s career after Soundgarden came to an end. Disc two contains his folky solo stuff and a decent smattering of Audioslave material. His later solo records were where I tuned out just because I wasn’t digging the folksy stuff. His vocals still come through beautifully on tracks like “Sweet Euphoria” and Audioslave’s classic “Like A Stone.” However, his collaboration with Timbaland on Scream still relatively sucks. These songs are like One Republic with better vocals and are best skipped over. The Steve Aoki remix of “Part Of Me” is literally the worst thing I’ve heard Cornell ever be involved in. This is just embarrassing.

The third disc is a grab-bag of stuff from the last seven years of his career. Collaborations with Slash and Santana, tracks from Soundgarden’s reunion, and tracks from Cornell’s solo acoustic tours. There’s not much revelatory stuff here. Some of his more overly folky stuff like “The Keeper” don’t really do much to showcase his ability; mostly he sounds like an earnest folk singer without much power here. His collection of ‘anthem-like’ songs from movie soundtracks fall flat and don’t do much to elevate his legend or his voice.

The final disc comprises live stuff from throughout his career. While the inclusion of their fantastic “Into The Void (Sealth)” cover with Buzz of the Melvins helping out is worthy, the whole thing would’ve been better off with stuff we haven’t heard before because it was already included on Live On I-5. His version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” is amazingly great and provides relief from the just ok nature of the rest of the live material.

Overall, while one would want the collection to contain more unreleased studio material, what we have here is decent enough but it just doesn’t feel all that great. It’s like you have half of a great box and another half that could’ve been much better.

Rating: B

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