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Higher Truth

Soundgarden singer takes a high-powered acoustic turn on his fourth solo outing

Chris Cornell

chris cornell

Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell has always had a quiet side, even when the iconic grunge band he fronted was raging like a punk-rock Zeppelin. Here, he and producer Brendan O’Brien craft a set of somber acoustic songs with titles like “Dead Wishes” and “Murderer of Blue Skies.” But this is hardly an exercise in folky restraint: O’Brien’s backing tracks and Cornell’s nuanced growl, all the more burnished with age, infuse roots music with alt-rock dynamics. “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” begins with mandolin, then adds drums, fuzzed-out psych guitar and stacked vocals to make for an arena-size porch reverie. In their hands, even a finespun meditation like “Worried Moon” can become a backwoods inferno. There are some misses (the heavy-handed, hippie-gospel title track; the Revolver-tinged swerve “Our Time in the Universe”). But for the most part, this is the balance of power and intimacy Cornell has always wanted his solo music to have.

In This Article: Chris Cornell

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