Scraping Genius Off The Wheel

CHRIS CORNELL OFFERS US A GLIMPSE OF AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE WITHOUT TIMBALAND

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Though recently convicted of murder, Phil Spector is regarded as one of the greatest music impresarios of the 20th century. His “Wall Of Sound” production style made him stand out from the pack, though the final results were not always met with appreciation by the artists with which he worked–perhaps the most noteworthy of these dissatisfied parties being The Beatles. Paul McCartney in particular loathed Spector’s approach on Let It Be, and a very different version of the album appeared in 2003. Whether or not such a revision will occur with Chris Cornell’s Timbaland-produced Scream remains to be seen, but an undeniably rock-centric version of his latest single certainly raises the question.

Lacking the ferocity of Soundgarden or Audioslave’s furtive funkiness, this organic new take on “Long Gone” recalls the softer, radio-friendly rock of his first two solo albums. Liberated from Timbaland’s rarefied electronic apparatus, the song sits comfortably parallel to “Light On”, the Cornell-penned single for American Idol winner David Cook. Compared to the sputter and stutter of the album version, “Long Gone (Howard Benson version)” is harmless and easy-to-digest.

To his credit, Benson–a producer who has worked with such disparate artists as Kelly Clarkson, My Chemical Romance, Motorhead, and Sepultura–managed to successfully extract the song from the digi-pop tarpit, though it’s at best a small victory. The move to use this new version for the video suggests that Cornell’s record label is just as unhappy about Scream as his fans are. Given the associated costs, I highly doubt we’ll see an entire redo of the album anytime soon, but for now, watch the video and reflect on how indifferent you would have been to yet another album of bland Goo Goo Dolls-esque from the man who sang “Jesus Christ Pose”.

Speaking of which, Gavin Rossdale’s on tour supporting his adult contemporary solo record. What happened to the heroes of my adolescence?

-GS

[Gary Suarez used to watch your flowers grow. He also writes for Brainwashed and usually manages the consistently off-topic No Yoko No. Say, why don’t you follow him on Twitter?]

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