On Nov. 4, when Barack Obama was marching
to victory in the American presidential election, Chris Cornell was
in Vancouver watching it all unfold on TV. While the legendary Seattle
singer was excited by the results, he was especially moved by Canada’s
reaction to America’s affairs.
“I got a sense from Canadians that they were
pleased about the outcome as well,” he says on the phone from Vancouver,
a couple days after the election. “That was really cool. You never know
how other people are going to react.”
He’s seen his fair share of cynicism toward
America — he lives part time in Paris — and he thinks Obama can change
the way people outside the States view his country. “It’s good to get
away from the States and look back through the lens that other people
see us through,” he says. “What happened on (Nov. 4) changes that view
an awful lot.”
As excited as Cornell is about his new president,
he’s got more pressing issues at hand. He’s currently on tour promoting
his third solo album, Scream. It’s a vast departure from Soundgarden’s
brooding grunge, or Audioslave’s more straight-up riff rock — in fact,
it doesn’t resemble anything the artist has done before.
This Timbaland produced disc features heavy
doses of R&B-like dance music, mixed with more traditional rock
sounds. With a few tweaks, single Part of Me could have found its way
on Nelly Furtado’s last disc, while Ground Zero sounds like Maroon 5-meets-Gnarls
Barkley, but with Cornell’s soaring vocals.
“Musically, this is the most ambitious thing
I’ve been a part of,” he says. “It’s almost like a movie soundtrack.
“To be able to be at this point and do something
so different and bring it out in a live venue without mining from the
nostalgia of the past is super satisfying to me,” he adds. “It’s very
rejuvenating. It’s the same feeling as when I brought out new Soundgarden
music when no one knew who we were.”
While it’s obvious that Cornell is thrilled
with his new musical direction, he’s also a little worried that he might
lose the songwriting touch. It’s a fear he’s struggled with for decades.
“Ever since I can remember, when I finished a song I thought was good,
a little voice in the back of my head says when does someone lose the
ability to create new things and new music?” he says.
Reprinted from Metro Canada - originally
available as an online feature here