Remember when people made big, ambitious records playing big, ambitious music? Chris Cornell does. A veteran of the Seattle grunge scene and former singer for Soundgarden, Cornell has always had a penchant for bold statements. On "Euphoria Morning," his solo debut, the grandiose rock posturing distills into a mature musical statement.
Echoing the Zeppelin-meets-Beatles persona of Soundgarden's "Superunknown" CD, Cornell reveals his softer, singer-songwriter mode. On the leadoff track, "Can't Change Me," his voice is both dynamic and radio-friendly. Using a host of talented musicians including pop-savant Jason Faulkner and Soundgarden compatriot Matt Cameron, the CD showcases diamond-hard production values and an emotive range. The music is moody, but the nihilism of '90s Seattle seems to have mercifully passed.
On "Preaching the End of the World" Cornell comes perilously close to the dreaded power ballad. But on the haunting "Follow My Way," he reaches back for some of his compelling high-register wailing. Still, those yearning for the grunge of yesteryear may be disappointed. For the most part, Cornell is looking toward the middle of the hard-rock road.