Album Commentary: Higher Truth – Chris Cornell

I’m not dead, I’m still listening to music, and I still need to finish my Best of Muse selection (which has proven difficult, because Muse is a very productive band).  Nevertheless, I’m going to ease back into this with one of the albums I’ve been listening to a lot since its release in September, and I even got it for a friend for Christmas.

Let’s jump right into Chris Cornell and “Higher Truth.”

Chris Cornell is one of my favorite vocalists, and I’m the weird one out (I think I’ve mentioned this before, on his track with the Zac Brown Band) who actually prefers solo work and Audioslave to Soundgarden.  Be that as it may, “Scream” was a difficult album for a lot of us.  It reminded us that anything is possible, and anything is not always good.  It grew on me, though.  And his acoustic cover album assured me fully that all was well.  So I eagerly met this album, and I was not disappointed.

Acoustically, it has a smooth, soulful sound.  The songs blend gently one into the next, making the album very quick and pleasant to listen to.  Over and over.  And over.  Thematically, it covers a wide range of personal experiences.  “Josephine” is a touching engagement song.  “Let Your Eyes Wander” is the recognition that jealousy accomplishes nothing: if people want to leave, they’ll leave, and there’s nothing to be done about it.  “Higher Truth” does remind me some of “Ground Zero” from “Scream,” not musically, but the theme of how much hate there is in the world and that we need to get beyond it.

But my two favorite, of course, speak to my love of music for annoyance and sarcasm.  “Before We Disappear” is the aggravation for being luckless in love: “how hard can it be to give your love to me?”  People deserved to be loved, and yet so many single, lonely people out there.  But above and beyond is “Murderer of Blue Skies,” which is a new favorite writing-someone-off-the-list song: “I can’t wait to never be with you again.”  It’s a song of empowerment and liberation after a bad situation.

So whatever mood you’re in, there’s a song for you on this album.  It takes you through the whole spectrum of personal loss, hopelessness, recovery, and support.  Cheers to Chris Cornell on this wonderful album.

And I would say the deluxe edition is worth it if only for “Wrong Side,” a tragic story.  The other additional songs are all right, but “Wrong Side” is powerful.

Track listing from wikipedia:

No. Title Length
1. “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” 3:54
2. “Dead Wishes” 4:55
3. “Worried Moon” 4:32
4. “Before We Disappear” 3:51
5. “Through the Window” 4:41
6. “Josephine” 3:38
7. “Murderer of Blue Skies” 3:42
8. “Higher Truth” 5:06
9. “Let Your Eyes Wander” 3:42
10. “Only These Words” 3:29
11. “Circling” 3:28
12. “Our Time in the Universe” 4:19
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
13. “Bend in the Road” 3:37
14. “Wrong Side” 5:13
15. “Misery Chain” 4:42
16. “Our Time in the Universe” (Remix)
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