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Friday, April 17, 2009

Chris Cornell

Tonight @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

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Already on track to be 2009’s most notorious train wreck, Chris Cornell’s latest album, Scream, pairs the one-time Soundgarden wailer with Top 40 hitmaker (and rockist lightning rod) Timbaland. It quickly earned the expected derision from bloggers and cries of blasphemy from fans, as well as some unexpectedly amusing ridicule from Trent Reznor, with whom Cornell is now locked in an ever-escalading battle of words. To be sure, though, the album isn’t a failure because of its attempts at pop—if anything, Timbaland’s funky production is a vast improvement over the “American Idol” showboating of Cornell’s pandering previous record—but rather because of Cornell himself, a humorless, one-note figure who, despite his powerhouse voice, weighs down ostensibly fun songs with his pained grunts and cries.