OMG, you guys! Did you hear that Chris Cornell and Timbaland have teamed up for Scream, the former Soundgarden frontman’s eagerly anticipated third solo album? It’s true! I got the press release today! And you might remember hearing about this exact same album last September…because I certainly remember writing a feature about it! (“Chris Cornell Meets Timbaland,” #1013, Sept. 26, 2008.)
Way back when — before Barack Obama became President, before the bottom fell out of the stock market, before the Arizona Cardinals had any legitimacy as a professional sports franchise — the Internet was in a tizzy, message boards devoted to Cornell torn asunder over leaked tracks that popped up on Ryan Seacrest’s show one day. Radio DJs were spinning supposed first single “Long Gone” to confused reception, Sasha Frere-Jones reviewed the album in the New Yorker, new video of Cornell performing the tracks live was appearing on YouTube every morning. It seemed the crazy collaboration was the topic of conversation at every cocktail party I attended, and while it’s probably because I brought it up, that doesn’t diminish my point: In September, people were talking about this record, good and bad. Now, I think most people are kind of indifferent. Am I wrong, PopWatchers? Has anyone been counting the days until they could score a copy? Raise your hand if you thought it already came out (and tanked)? Well. It didn’t! Chris Cornell! New record!
Look: Frankly, I like the guy. I liked talking to him, and his music got me through many a dark ’90s moment, so I feel I owe him something. To that end, I shall do my part to get some buzz going again…good or bad. Here’s Cornell talking about “Ground Zero,” which, according to Sasha Frere-Jones (and me) is Scream‘s strongest track:
“When I hear U2, there’s always the song where I say, ‘I wish I wrote that. I wish I had that on my album. Why can’t I go sing a song like that?’ ‘Ground Zero’ is that to me. It’s like Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Goin’ On.’ It has this soulful R&B sensibility to it, but the lyrics have a socially conscious bent, and yet it still works. And it’s not silly, it’s not a raise your fist in the air, anti-something anthem. I sang to a lot of stuff that was very unborn, and then filled in later. This was literally just the drum beat and this one synth thing, ding-ding-ding-ding, which is pretty much what the song is anyway. I wasn’t there when Tim did the interlude to it, but it’s just a cappella vocals and hand clapping and him kicking something. And that’s what I really was hoping for on this album.”
I’ve embedded the video after the jump — if you hadn’t heard it already, what do you think?