...It is possibly the most confused album you’ll come across all year.
Chris Long 2007
Back in February, Chris Cornell announced his decision to leave Audioslave on account of ‘personality conflicts’ and ‘musical differences’. Three months on, he’s releasing his second solo album. Any chance those conflicts and differences could have been down to the rest of the band deciding not to record Chris’ songs?
A listen to Carry On would make you understand why if it was. Let’s get one thing straight from the start: it is possibly the most confused album you’ll come across all year.
Stuck somewhere between Cornell’s initial incarnation in Soundgarden and a curious entry to American Idol, it is a collection that is both catchy and dreary at the same time, shown perfectly in the opening trio of ''No Such Thing''’s grown-up grunge, the MOR stadium rock of ''Arms Around Your Love'', and in the middle, ''Poison Eye'''s schizophrenic meanderings between the two.
The problem is Cornell’s voice. As distinctive as the sound it helped invent back in the 90s, when he stretches away from that grating grunge and rock, it shows an unexpectedly dull edge that lacks an ability to convey emotion. It’s a nuisance that weighs down the lumpen Bond theme, ''You Know My Name''.
Away from that, weirdness rules the roost, from a peculiarly unsettling version of Michael Jackson’s ''Billie Jean'' to the cover artwork, made to resemble the sleeve art of the likes of Miles Davis and Marvin Gaye.
If that weren’t enough, there’s a frankly disturbing ditty about your missus running off with another woman called '‘She’ll Never Be Your Man'’. Anyone who doesn’t shudder at lines like 'she can be your vision of a mother, like the one you never had' needs as much therapy as Cornell appears to himself.
And yet, when the last bars of the soft rock ballad finale, ''Roads We Choose'', rattle to a close, you feel compelled to have another listen. It’s like a drug you can’t kick. No wonder he’s faced some personality conflicts. Carry On causes enough in the listener to last anyone a lifetime.