Review: Chris Cornell – Songbook

Written by: Sion Smith

There was little chance of this not being one of the best albums of the year even before its release.

I adore Chris Cornell (although I don’t always love everything he does) and my honest opinion of him is that he has given more than most will ever know to rock over these last few years.

If my suspicions are correct, the best may still be to come.

Chris Cornell Songbook album coverSongbook is what rock gods sounds like when they’re at their best. Stripped back to an old acoustic and an appreciative audience, this is one fine, fine album that no rock fan should even think twice about adding to the collection. What makes it work is the honesty. There’s no pretension here, a smattering of the familiar, a smattering of the not so. It’s incredibly beautiful, utterly compelling and thankfully, flawless. As to what it may do commercially, that’s anybody’s guess. Its been pretty low key so far, so unless you’re looking for it, there’s every chance it will pass you by and that would be a crying shame.

The big talking point of Songbook is Cornell’s voice. After all these years in the field, it’s taken its fair share of abuse and, like the hands of a farmer, has adapted itself to the point that it takes something pretty serious to get through the scar tissue covering it. Capable of reducing any soul to crying in the gutter, the world should be paying more attention to Cornell rather than lamenting those long since passed by – Buckley springs mainly to mind but there are others. What is this fascination we have with worshipping the dead and letting the living go about their business?

Calling on material from his entire career and throwing in some covers in the shape of Thank You and Imagine, whatever your stance, take some time out to at least investigate this because I guarantee you won’t hear anything quite as wonderful as this for a very long time.

You can hear some scraps from it at but you’ll be doing yourself a massive disservice by not slipping on the headphones, turning out all the lights and burying yourself in its entire soundscape.

Buy Chris Cornell – Songbook nowBuy Chris Cornell Songbook album

Author: Sion Smith

My name is Sion Smith. I write about rock music, books and pop-culture – kind of like a rock n roll Nick Hornby or maybe Hank Moody with hair. Sion is pronounced as in Sean Connery/Shawn Michaels – take your pick. If you’re interested, it’s Welsh. I'm also the editor of Skin Deep, the biggest selling tattoo magazine in the UK and harbour designs on writing for Doctor Who – these two things are not related. Aside from that, I’m currently working on a TV screenplay called Fox On The Run and also contribute articles to The Void - which you know already because you're here. You can jump on the feed of my own blog at

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Responses to Review: Chris Cornell – Songbook

  1. Agree 100%! Well written review also. Chris Cornell is amazing, and those that kept faith in his talents have been rewarded. And like you said will continue to be rewarded, he’s back!

  2. Clare O'BrienNo Gravatar

    Bravo. I love the comparison of Chris’s voice to “the hands of a farmer”; that is both very beautiful, and very wise.

  3. j.a. lindbergNo Gravatar

    I love your review. As far as I’m concerned Chris Cornell can’t be praised highly enough, as a songwriter, singer, and as a generous and gracious man.

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