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Chris Cornell-'Euphoria Morning'

Someone get this man a sandwich!

Ok, the very first thing that struck me as I spun this disc for the first time is, Chris Cornell can sing. This probably comes as no startling revelation to even the slightest Soundgarden fan, but who knew that golden voice could be so versatile? He wails his way through rich, lush melodies to brave bluesy inventive foot tappers and lovely, otherworldly ballads with equal skill and beauty, all the while retaining the crunch and power that made avid fans of Soundgarden listen in near awe.

His lovely baritone weaves a tapestry of emotion through a particularly adventuresome track called "When I'm Down". The song features some Beatlesque moments (which seems to be a recurring theme throughout the entire album, though not overly so) bringing to mind "Oh! Darling" and showcasing a thoroughly George Harrison sounding guitar solo, while offering such lyrical nuggets as "..And I only love you when I'm down...but one thing for you to keep in mind...I'm down all the time..."

Even the most Soundgarden sounding song, the still decidedly uncrunchy "Mission", (complete with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" guitar recollections) retains an air of freshness, as if purposely so. To demonstrate perhaps even more versatility, Chris takes the poppy playful "Preaching the End of the World" to new territory, even recalling the immortal Freddie Mercury in soulful melody and soaring vocal. The song seems to be a tongue in cheek take on the millennium doomsayers, with Chris asking for "..a friend for the end of the world."

Truly, each song offers some sort of reason to be listened to, whether it be the finely written melodies, the exquisite vocals, the very good instrumental backing of members of the band Eleven, or the just all out catchiness of the tunes. A case in point is the supersticky first single "Can't Change Me", a song which could teach a class on how to craft a perfect pop song. This friggin' melody will stay with you ALL DAY and maybe even while you sleep, with it's 3 or 4 different hooks: The well-written verses, the Beatlesque (!) climb of the bridge, the absolutely infinitely appealing chorus, the way each section gains new regard when it is altered slightly upon repeating. This may be the mainstream single of the year; in my mind, it's undoubtedly so!

There are small moments which aren't as rewarding as others, such as a few lyrically forced moments and even kind of silly giveaway lines. There aren't as many lyrically challenging moments as Chris has given us in past Soundgarden efforts or on the classic Temple of the Dog album. Nothing here approaches the brilliant "Seasons" (a song Chris wrote and sang for the 'Singles' soundtrack) for sheer word power, but the lyrics certainly aren't weak, and lets face it, Chris could make the theme from "Cheers" sound like it really really means something through delivery and emotional content.

I get the feeling that future listens of Euphoria Morning will achieve even better listening successes than the first couple of times through, in which I've already felt I've probably heard one of the best pop albums of the year; maybe one of the best in quite a few years.

So, buy it, or copy it off of a friend, or at least tape "Can't Change Me" off of the radio.

A boy and his dog.
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