Chris Cornell - An Artist's Legacy - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Chris Cornell - An Artist's Legacy

by James Weiskittel Rating:10 Release Date:2018-11-16
Chris Cornell - An Artist's Legacy
Chris Cornell - An Artist's Legacy

The first major compilation to be released since the passing of Chris Cornell (who died in May of 2017 at the age of 52), An Artist’s Legacy serves as a strong reminder of just how incredibly talented the former Soundgarden singer actually was. The seventeen track compilation illustrates time and time again that, regardless of the musical vehicle, the power and versatility of Cornell’s voice was simply undeniable.

From their formative Sub Pop years to the arena-headlining heights of the mid-90s, Cornell and his Soundgarden bandmates carved out the kind of path that most bands can only dream about. And following Soundgarden’s hiatus back in 1997, Cornell inexplicably managed to do it all over again by way of the Tom Morello-led Audioslave. It’s because of his sustained success that compiling a single-disc representation of Cornell’s work is no small order, but the powers that be behind An Artist’s Legacy do an admirable job of selecting cuts that manage to touch upon every facet of his career.

While there are the obligatory hits (“Black Hole Sun”, “Outshined”, “Like A Stone”) that highlight Cornell’s work with both Soundgarden and Audioslave, there’s also a bevy of solo gems like “Seasons” (originally released on the Singles soundtrack), a genius cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, and a brand new track (leftover from the sessions for his last solo release, Higher Truth) entitled “When Bad Does Good”. It’s on these understated tracks in particular where Cornell’s voice truly shines.

What becomes apparent when first diving into this collection is just how potent Cornell’s output actually was. While the singer certainly challenged the expectations of fans and critics alike with some of his solo work (case in point being 2009’s much maligned, Timbaland-produced Scream), it’s hard to find a prolonged gap in his career where he wasn’t flirting with the charts in some way, shape, or form. It’s pretty crazy to think that while nearly thirty years separates Soundgarden’s “Loud Love” (Jeez, what an amazing song) and his last solo single (“Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart”), the power and tone of the man’s voice remains a consistent thread running throughout both songs.

As is the case with most ‘best of’ releases nowadays, there’s also a slew of formats and packages (ranging from a single-disc release to a sixty-four song deluxe edition) available for An Artist’s Legacy. Additionally, a collection of candid artwork as well as liner notes penned by friends and bandmates (Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Tom Morello, Mike McCready, Brendan O’Brien) provides a nice personal touch to what is essentially a chronological mixtape. But regardless of which format you choose, as both an introduction to an incomparable artist as well as a fitting parting gift to longtime fans, An Artist’s Legacy succeeds on all counts.



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