Chris Cornell Album Review: Euphoria Morning (1999)

Feel free to leave a comment down below to request an album for me and Robby to review. Any artist, any genre, we’ll give it a chance.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Euphoria Morning, the first solo album from Chris Cornell.

In green is my opinion. I was introduced to Cornell through his song You Know My Name, which was recorded for the stellar Bond film Casino Royale. I am generally familiar with his solo work, though I have not listened to his work with Soundgarden or Audioslave.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He knows Cornell for his work with both Soundgarden and Audioslave. He likes both bands. 

Let’s start our track-by-track review!

Can’t Change Me

Chris Cornell kicks off his debut album with a melodic, dark-sounding track. Can’t Change Me is grungy, rocky, and twinged with attitude. The lyrics are effective and the music is riveting. “It sounds like a Bond song,” remarked my dad upon listening to it. He hit the nail right on the head. Can’t Change Me is an easy introduction to Cornell’s debut solo album.

I was hooked to this song right away because of its sick guitar intro. The mixture of electric and acoustic guitar works well with Chris’s vocals. The bass groove is also nice. Can’t Change Me is a solid start to the album.

Flutter Girl

Flutter Girl possesses a curious vibe, bordering on sounding Middle Eastern. The electric guitar adds a layer of attitude that complements Cornell’s smoky voice, all while the acoustic guitar manages to hold its ground. Perhaps Flutter Girl is successful because of the seamless merging between both guitars. I feel that Cornell could have found a more interesting chorus to sing, but it’s a good song nonetheless.

I enjoyed Flutter Girl’s western feeling, though I did not like the electronic noises that occasionally popped up during the song. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that Cornell shows off his impressive vocals through the track. In addition, I like the unusual sounds the guitar makes, as well as the sick drumming. The song serves as a good display of what Cornell is all about.

Preaching the End of the World

Preaching the End of the World features crisp acoustics that are so crisp that one could call them Krispy Kreme. Have I mentioned that this song has some crisp acoustics? Chris Cornell launches from a long, strong acoustic introduction to an emotional stream of impressive vocals that shine behind a rocking band. The electric guitar that is spread throughout the song sometimes emulates the guitar from the beginning of Paul McCartney and the Wings’ Band on the Run. That is yet another reason why this song is great. Preaching the End of the World is an enjoyable, individual track that sums up Chris Cornell’s ability as a musician.

I’m a sucker for a slow song that picks up after a bit, and Preaching the End of the World is just that. I love every single aspect of this song. The instruments along with the vocals are plain beautiful. The song is great even when Chris hits the high notes. It is definitely one of my favorites thus far.

Follow My Way

Yet again, I am hearing a Middle Eastern sound. Perhaps it is Cornell’s constant vocal fluctuation that produces a sound resembling vocalization. Or maybe the Arabic vibe comes from what sounds like an orchestra. Regardless of the cool Middle Eastern vibe possessed by this track, Follow My Way is all about the electric guitar. It sounds mystical, as if Gandalf were playing it with his white staff. I dig this track because it’s bold. I like bold.

Follow My Way definitely has a Soundgarden vibe to it, especially in terms of Chris’s vocals. I was really hoping to hear that side of him on Euphoria Morning, and I’m glad it came not too far into the album. He has a very distinctive scream that is showcased perfectly in this song.

When I’m Down

This is the kind of song that one hears when they stumble into a ratty bar looking to get wasted in an effort to drown their problems in liquor. I really enjoy When I’m Down. The beginning of the song is comprised of Chris Cornell’s powerful voice and a lounge piano. Then, out of nowhere, drums, guitar, and bass attach themselves to the passion-fueled outpouring. All throughout the track, Cornell belts out top-notch, smoky vocals. The inclusion of a nasty guitar solo and the subtle addition of backup singers makes When I’m Down a song full of tricks, all adding up to a badass clown-for-hire. Of course, this clown would exclusively perform in bars, and would be paid by the pint. Did I mention that it’s a sad clown? Oh, and it’s a member of Depeche Mode. Pick any of them. They’re a bunch of sad clowns.

Sweet! I love ballads more than any other type of song. The piano in When I’m Down is beautiful, Chris’s vocals are great as usual, and that solo is smashing. This song is perfect in every way,  fitting for when a couple wants to have “fun.” On the other hand, you can simply play it when you are having a good time with the person you love. Yeah, that sounds better to me.

Mission

By far the heaviest song on the album, Mission is a song that is fitting only for a badass.  Chris Cornell belts out some outrageous screams all while heavy guitar erupts around him. The mercilessly mocking lyrics fit the music like red wine fits a steak dinner. Only, this steak is bloody. Cornell rips this song apart with his voice. Mission is a great time that likely killed this man’s vocal chords.

Mission reels me in with a guitar intro that sounds very western. Chris is forceful in this song. Just let Chris be Chris and you will not be disappointed. You may find that screaming annoying (like my mom), but that is what makes Chris a great singer. That is screaming, people, not yelling like you hear in mainstream crap.

Wave Goodbye

The main guitar riff of Wave Goodbye sounds a lot like something that Phish would play. In other words, it’s funky. Wave Goodbye retains a rockish sound, but the funky guitar and gliding bass keep it from being a hardcore rock song. I don’t mind the sound at all, as it makes for some easy listening. Wave Goodbye is a refreshing glass of water after the bloodbath that was Mission. But don’t get it twisted. Cornell still sings his heart out, delivering some solid lyrics while he’s at it. Wave Goodbye is one of the lighter songs on the album, and it sounds great.

I’m not going to lie: I thought it was Dave Matthews at the beginning of the song. Anyhow, Wave Goodbye is a sad song that doesn’t sound very sad at all. The song is clearly about losing someone you love/know. You should never let loss bother you. It is best that you just move on with your life. Death is a part of life that we all experience, and Wave Goodbye reminds us not to grieve about it.

Moonchild

Moonchild has an eerie sound to it. The lyrics are notably poetic, full of vivid imagery. While Cornell does a fine job with the writing of the song, it isn’t a consistently smooth ride. The chorus is much stronger than the verses, both melodically and vocally. The guitar solo and bridge toward the end are daringly melodic, however, resulting in the literal “ending on a positive note”. Once Moonchild overcame its monotonous opening verses, it is a smooth ride. Moonchild should have been polished more, but it is a good listen nonetheless.

The guitar in Moonchild makes me bob my head slowly, perfect for when I just sit down and chill. Once again, we are gifted with a short yet sweet guitar solo. I know this song is not slow enough to be called mellow, but it is relaxing to me nonetheless.

Sweet Euphoria

Sweet Euphoria is a nice song that is solely comprised of lovely acoustics and Cornell’s voice. Sweet Euphoria feels surprisingly full despite its minimalist layout. It doesn’t define the album, but it does display a softer, quieter side of Chris Cornell that the listener doesn’t get much of elsewhere on the record. A fine cool-off from the driving Moonchild, this track is a welcome one.

Bingo! We finally found a mellow song that could put me to sleep! I absolutely love how this tune is solely acoustic. Whenever I finally learn how to play guitar, this is a song that will be at the top of my list to master. Furthermore, the lyrics are interesting. I love the vibe I get from Sweet Euphoria.

Disappearing One

Disappearing One offers a little taste of Sinatra in its introduction. Some orchestral instruments are subtly worked into the sound of the song, giving the track a classic feeling. At times, Cornell’s vocal melodies resemble those in Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die. That’s both an observation and a compliment. Disappearing One’s standout feature is its lyrics. They express a pure outburst of emotion. Disappearing One is a solid song.

Wait…since when was I watching an old movie? Oh wait, never mind. It is just another Chris Cornell song. The guitar in Disappearing One is pleasant and Chris’s vocals are great as usual. I love how can he bust out the high notes at will and then knock down the intensity a notch just as easily.

Pillow of Your Bones

There are moments in life where steak tastes even more delicious than usual, moments where every bite is heavenly. Pillow of Your Bones is like one of those moments. This song has its ish together. The right hand *raises left hand* knows what the left hand *raises right hand* is doing! The lyrics are poetic, the acoustics are deep, the bass is wild, the guitar is robust…the list goes on and on. I especially love the calming, almost trance-like chorus. Pillow of Your Bones is flavored with some more subtle Middle Eastern melodies, giving it an overall mysterious vibe. Pillow of Your Bones is a stellar display of Cornell’s talent as a solo artist.

I was expecting Pillow of Your Bones to be a dark song, as implied by the title. I was slightly disappointed. The guitars are deep, but a handful of lyrics are weird in certain ways. I feel that Pillow of Your Bones would have been better if it was eerier.

Steel Rain

Steel Rain is fit for a horror movie. This dark song, full of mysterious, droning vocals, is made even more horrifying by its pained guitar and sinister organ. Steel Rain is a full, satisfying track that leaves the listener’s ears feeling numb but good. Chris Cornell says goodbye in a way that is fresh and memorable, unique to his grungy acoustic style.

I’m a Steelers fan and I love water, so of course I love the title of this song! Euphoria Morning ends with a slow, dark song, which is exactly what I wanted the previous song to be like! Along with the nice acoustics and cool piano, Steel Rain also features an eerie guitar solo. Hearing Chris wail that chorus puts chills down my spine! With that, I would like to thank you for reading another album review.

My Top 3

Preaching the End of the World

Wave Goodbye

Pillow of Your Bones

Rob’s Top 3

Wave Goodbye

Sweet Euphroia

Steel Rain

Euphoria Morning is an album that packs a pleasant punch. Cornell’s bold acoustic-electric fusion makes for some really interesting music. Each song is a true joy, full of dynamic elements that keep them fresh and unique. This high-quality T-Bone deserves your time. Oh, and be sure to check out Cornell’s French version of Can’t Change Me. It’s stellar.

~Juck

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