Geust blogger: An open letter to Chris CornellNovember 3rd, 2008 by travis hay
Apparently my buddy Steven is still a little disappointed about the direction Chris Cornell is taking his career after last night’s show with Timbaland at the Showbox (read his review of the show here in case you missed it).
Since Steven, who is a journalist in Aberdeen and took notes at the show, is a civil fellow, he did what all civil folk do, he wrote all of his frustrations down into a scathing letter addressed to Mr. Cornell.
Here is that letter:
I’m a big fan; been a big fan since I started listening to rock music in junior high. Jesus Christ Pose is genius. Black Hole Sun remains one of my most favorite songs ever and the music video is amazing.
You remember rock music, don’t you? Because having stood through an hour-plus of your new music, produced by Timbaland, at the Showbox on Sunday, I felt a need to check in. Do you realize Timbaland, who opened the show, performed more Soundgarden songs that you did? I’m not joking. Timbaland did a few lines from Black Hole Sun, which brought about a huge applause because I seriously think people were expecting you to show up at that point. You didn’t. You didn’t even perform one Soundgarden (or even an Audioslave) song. In fact, you didn’t show up until the encore, with a couple amazing Temple of the Dog numbers. Well, I mean, you were there — but merely a shadow of yourself.
First, I’d like to tell you a little about what Timbaland told us, your loyal audience.
Your producer seemed annoyed that the majority of us didn’t buy his personal album. He asked us, like, five times to shout and wave if we bought it. Only the first couple rows of people did.
“Is this a rock crowd or what?” he flatly said, to which the audience soundly applauded. He went on to perform a version of Smells Like Teen Spirit.
“Grunge rockers, where ya at? Ya all hard core, huh? But this is 2008, right.”
Timbaland said he’d never been to Seattle before. This was his first show. And he said he was proud of what he did for “that tired grunge sound.,” which he said “needs help.” Obviously, Timbaland felt he was the man for the job.
He called his work on the Cornell solo album “Scream” — “One of the best pieces of work I’ve ever done in my life.” He said he “really respected grunge rock and I respect you guys who go to Ozzfest and all that s**t.” (I took notes).
He played some of his music — from Nelly to Justin Timberlake. He even tried to get a singalong going for Timberlake’s “Sexy Back.” Not gonna happen. Not with this crowd.
A 10-year-old girl from Seattle performed a couple songs between Timbaland’s set and before your nightmare began. She got a better reception than Timbaland did.
Your set began about 20 minutes late. The waiting prompted the girl in front of me to write to her Twitter blog, “Maybe Chris Cornell is embarrassed to come out because of the hip hop crap.”
I have to say, a good majority of us thought that — because we were all talking about it amid the wait for you.
On your new album you have a song where you keep repeating “Where did I go wrong?” Oh Chris. I think I know.
At the core, your new music sounds like it could be some really good stuff. In fact, I actually liked a couple of the songs. But it sounds too engineered, to produced. And, Chris, Why oh why did you need to sing on top of your own pre-recorded voice? It was like karaoke night staring Chris Cornell.
Your new songs could easily be Justin Timberlake or, worse, any one from American Idol. Speaking of American Idol, why is David Cook acting more like you and your sound than, well, you? (ed’s note: Cornell penned Cook’s lead single)
I blame Michael Jackson. It was that idiotic Billie Jean cover from your last solo album that got your mind off the ball, that probably started this wacky mid-life crisis.
Strip away the production, Chris. You were screaming but I can’t hear your screams over the music!
You’ve become a cookie-cutter, Chris. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. At the very least, I can say I was there last October when you played an amazing show at the Paramount. You played songs live I’d never heard before. I just wish I had known that was going to be your career’s wake, a celebration of the “old Chris” before this new version came out of the woodwork.
Worst of all, I gave up a couple of hours of sleep for you, Chris. That’s not going to happen again.
Best of luck, pal. Wake me up when you re-unite with Soundgarden or remember how to at least play a guitar. I’m going to head off to watch your buddy Tom Morello tonight. At least he knows how to still rock.