Let me set one thing straight before I start this album review – I’m not a fan of grunge music. Being the music whore that I am, there are only several musical genres that I have a hard time appreciating (RnB, Indie, and Grunge all come instantly to mind.) Chris Cornell will always stick in my mind as that “Black Hole Sun” guy, who also sung the worst James Bond song in history (“Casino Royale” - “You Know My Name.”) (Until of course Jack White and Alicia Keys regurgitated something resembling a song for “Quantum of Solace.”)
Case in point, I have no love for Chris Cornell, nor the musical bowel movement that pushed him into the limelight with Soundgarden and Audioslave.
That being said, Enter Timabaland (electro/rap producer that has had his balls in just about every successful pop icon in the last several years from Justin Timberlake to 50 Cent. (Including not so successful collaborations like the Duran Duran album “Red Carpet Disaster”– an album that could suck the suck out of a Jonas Brothers album.) Timbaland has a hit/miss ratio for pop singles – but I genuinely feel that Timbaland understands that rap/hip-hop is dying. He understands the importance of melding electro beats/synths with rap to keep the format from flat-lining.
So what the FUCK does Chris Cornell and Timabland have in common? Obviously, money isn’t the motivating factor for creating this album (I mean, there really aren’t any stand-out singles or radio-friendly tracks that instantly come to mind) – could it be that these 2 men have a genuine interest in creating something unique? (SHOCK) – creating music for the sake of pushing boundaries? I’m forced to believe their intentions are noble.
The album “Scream” itself, has some interesting moments – “Time” stands out, as well as the title track “Scream” and “Long Gone.” Lyrically, Chris pulls from his recent divorce for motivation; and this is almost an entire 45 minutes of middle finger to his ex….delivered with his half-sleeping drawl, that grunge fans easily recognize as the best amongst his competition (Vedder, Cobain and Weiland.)
All in all, I’m going to say “Scream” is the best album I have heard so far this year. It’s constantly shuffling behind the beats that place it in 2009 – but the lyrics and delivery that remind me of 1994. “Scream” is undoubtedly not grunge enough for Chris’ long-time fans, and not electro enough for Timbalands fans – but for the casual listener; it’s an anomaly and a risk that we don’t see enough artists taking these days.