Back in 2009, the former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell released the solo album Scream, a disastrously awful combination of post-grunge yarling and club-pop thump that effectively derailed his entire career. Cornell made the entire album with the auteurist pop producer Timbaland — an interesting combination on paper, but a catastrophic one in practice, since it somehow brought out the worst in them both. Cornell has since moved on to reunite Soundgarden, release a pretty good reunion album, tour heavily, and ready the new acoustic-based, Brendan O’Brien-produced solo LP Higher Truth. But Cornell still isn’t willing to disavow Scream entirely. Instead, he seems to be laboring under illusion that we just didn’t understand it, man.
Talking to Rolling Stone, Cornell recently had this to say about Scream:
I don’t think there was any reference for [Scream] at the time. And obviously, the world of recorded and released music is a world that required reference 99 times out of 100. I mean, even for me, I could stand on a soap box and say that art shouldn’t require reference and then still make references to you. When I hear a band I’m gonna say something like, ‘It’s a cross between Abba and the band Swans.’ So I get it. The response to the album didn’t surprise me. But I do think there is more context for it now.
That’s not a full-on defense, perhaps, but it’s still the nicest thing anyone’s ever going to say about Scream. In that same interview, Cornell said that Soundgarden are at work on music for a new album.