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.
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
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
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
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
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