Mike: I’ve been intrigued by this Chris Cornell/Timbaland collabo album since I heard about it. Note that I didn’t say I looked forward to it or anticipated it. More than anything, I was curious. Timbaland, of course, is responsible for Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds.” I figured that’s what he’d be bringing to the table on “Scream” — I just wasn’t sure how that would mesh with throaty rock vocals. My big question is this: Who’s going to listen to this? I can’t see Cornell’s rock fans getting behind the blips and beeps of Timbo and I can’t see the Timberlake audience latching onto Cornell — despite the influx of ads I’m seeing on MySpace.
Kathy: You’re right, Mike. I think rockers are going to have that WTF moment (Kind of like a co-worker today who was startled, dumbfounded and apparently quite disturbed to hear the tunes coming from my office were that of Cornell). The whole collaboration took me by surprise. I knew Chris Cornell had a solo album coming out, but I assumed it would be a rock album. What else would you think a guy who was in Soundgarden and Audioslave would do? Add in that he co-wrote the David Cook’s hit “Light On” and it all adds up to a mainstream rock album. Boy was I wrong.
Mike: Yes, it’s not mainstream rock at all, which is what confuses me. I don’t see this getting played on rock radio. And while the Timberlake/Timbaland stuff had some crossover to rhythmic radio, I can’t see Chris Cornell getting played on B95. That said, there are a few songs that caught my ear on this album. I liked the first track, “Part of Me” — which for some reason had me thinking of Michael Jackson — and I thought “Otherside of Town” could do well on Top 40 radio/VH1/MTV.
Kathy: It definitely doesn’t fit rock radio around here. The only station I think that might play it is Alice. When “Part of Me” started, the first thing I thought of was the teen pop sensation Cora Corman in the movie “Music & Lyrics” – it was all those Egyptian like sounds that did it. Weird. But, I agree with you, the song is catchy and definitely has that get-stuck-in-your-head potential. But, after about five songs morphing in and out of each other, I thought I had been listening to 20 minutes of techno with a tinge of rock. It wasn’t until the last part of the CD, when we get to “Scream” and “Otherside of Town,” that I felt like we got to appreciate what makes Chris Cornell so great: his voice.
Mike: Ahh yes, the song-morphing-together Timbaland model. Again, something that works with a Justin Timberlake record but seems forced here. I don’t see Chris Cornell as a guy whose music is various soundscapes melting into each other. Like you said: It’s the voice. I appreciate the ambition in this project. I like when artists go outside their comfort zone. And there are probably a few songs here that I’ll revisit — but I’m still wondering what the audience is for this. Maybe people are more daring than I think. I was wrong about “Hey Ya” – never thought that would blow up either.
Kathy: The thing is that the ambition seems like a copycat of a lot of stuff we’ve heard before. Like you said, Justin Timberlake comes to mind. I also heard some older-school R&B – there are a lot of “Owh!” screeches mixed in that made me think he was trying to channel James Brown. Then it’s like “let’s sample the ‘Lion King’” with those African beats. And we end up with Elvis Costello-esque stuff in the end. I like innovation but not being confused. Oh … and did you notice what I think is a secret song (at about the five-minute mark on the last track)? It is nothing like the rest of the album. Huh? Did I mention that I am so confused?