In 1999 when Chris Cornell released his debut solo album it was not anything like that which I expected; where were the doom-laden, behemoths, and soaring vocals of Soundgarden? They simply weren’t there; I discounted the album and put it on the “could’ve been great” pile.
Europhia Mourning, is the reissue of his slightly differently titled album Euphoria Morning. “The title of the record has been restored to its original spelling,” notes Cornell. “Which was changed before release after I listened to some bad advice.” His first release outside of his work as lead singer with Soundgarden, Euphoria Morning, as it was then called, was a collaboration with Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider of the band Eleven, who appeared on the album, co-wrote five of the tracks and were credited as co-producers, engineers and mixers with Cornell.
With the interspersing years giving us a challenging Timbaland-produced album, a trilogy of largely brilliant Audioslave releases, a successful Bond theme, and solo tours, all as yardsticks by which to measure the album against, I get to hear it with completely different ears.
To me Chris Cornell was always about powerhouse vocals matched and the towering Soundgarden persona. Now listening to opening track ‘Can’t Change Me’, the track is now so blatantly Cornell. By the time ‘Flutter Girl’ has passed it the strains of lighter Soundgarden (‘Blow Up The Outside World’ for example) and Audioslave (‘I Am The Highway’) are obvious to me.
In fact, across the piece, the diversity of musical style is surprising in places, yet it stays true to a tone and theme now instantly recognisable as Chris Cornell. The quality of songwriting is exemplary leading to a richly rewarding experience.
I was such a fool to have ignored this album all those years ago, or simply I wasn’t ready to listen. I feel so glad to have had this album thrust upon me as a reissue. I guess this is what a reissue is all about; returning an album considered an opus by some to a marketplace who deserve to hear it once more. The cynical among you may claim it’s about cashing in, and I cannot comment how the audio compares to the original, however I can say that the production on the remaster sounds current, and certainly not of 16 years’ vintage.
Chris also has a new solo album coming out, so this timely release makes perfect sense. As does picking it up and giving it a damned good listen with fresh ears.