There are some artists who transcend their roots in ways that are completely unexpected. Chris Cornell was an incredible talent, he had a voice like no other and everything he lent it to seemed all that more alive. Today’s album was his first foray into a solo career and it holds a special place in my heart. This is Euphoria Morning, (sometimes spelled Mourning).
Why This Album?
I left my hometown for the final time in the latter part of 1999. It wasn’t easy to do but, seeing that the small town I came from had nothing to offer me, it was necessary. With what little I had, I trekked out to the big city moving into my first apartment in a move that, little to my knowledge, would eventually dramatically change my life. This album was released shortly before my move and became somewhat of a soundtrack to the tough times ahead.
I had been a fan of Soundgarden for some time, diving into everything released since discovering them in the early 90’s alongside Nirvana and the rest of the Seattle Sound. So when it was announced that the band had broken up in 1997, I was pretty upset. It seemed that everything I loved in music was coming to an end and I really didn’t care for that. When rumors started to swirl that Cornell was working on a solo album, I was intrigued. What would it be? More heavy Seattle grunge? Just some rock maybe? Boy, I could never have guessed that he would end up releasing an album that showcased something we all knew was there but never really heard for what it was, his voice.
The man had a voice that could break hearts. It was rough, soulful and full of raw emotion. It was a voice that begged you to listen and boy did I ever. Euphoria Morning remained on my rotation from that point on, still appearing from time to time even today. The album itself is a deep introspective lineup of songs that are dark, beautiful, deep and comforting. It is filled with despair with tinges of hope on the edge. It is a plea for help in a room devoid of friends. It is poetry and should be considered a masterpiece. If you listen to this album and are not moved by the shear intensity of Cornell’s voice, then you really don’t have an appreciation for the craft. He was singular talent and this album showcased just that.
The reason I haven’t written about this album until now is that it has been hard to find the right words. You see, Just last year on May 18, 2017 , Cornell passed away in an apparent suicide. To say I was devastated is an understatement. This was one of the performers that helped to define my taste in music. He was one of the royalty of the Seattle Music Scene and for us to lose someone like that to suicide rocked me to my core. You see, I have dealt with depression and anxiety for much of my life and I would be lying if I said I have never flirted with the idea of suicide at some point. When that thought crosses your mind when you are at your lowest it can seem a viable option, when it really rarely ever is. Cornell’s death really got me thinking about my mortality even more so and it weighed heavily on my mind. It would only be a few more months until I started this very blog as an attempt to remind myself just what I have to be grateful for on a daily basis. So, in a way, his death inspired me to do something I love, to write again and to keep going no matter how difficult things get.
Like so many of my favorite albums this is the part that gets me tongue tied. Even outside of this album there are so many amazing songs that I will never get tired of. There are two on this album that really just hit me though and every time I hear them I will both remember the first time I heard them and that the man singing them will never get to do so again.
The first one is Preaching the End Of The World. This is one that really put my feelings into words when I was in my early 20’s. I was alone, lonely and desperate for someone to care for and the song itself is about someone who had the very same problem.
The next one means so much more and it brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. It’s called Wave Goodbye and I think you can guess why it has that effect on me.
Ok, Where do I get it?
You can pick up the album in it’s new remastered edition under the name Euphoria Mourning (with a ‘U’ in morning) for around $15.
While I wrote this article I learned something about the new name for the album. It seems that the original release Euphoria Morning was named that way due to a suggestion by his manager Jim Guerinot. Apparently Cornell originally intended it to be Euphoria Mourning as in ‘expressing deep sorrow for someone who has died’ but when he realized that it may be a little confusing during interviews so he went with Jim’s suggestion. It wasn’t until the re-release in 2015 that he changed it back to his original intent. Kind of prophetic in a way.
Well, whatever you call it, I hope you like it. It is certainly one of my stand out albums.
You can also listen via Spotify.
Also, if you or anyone you know gets to a low point and needs someone to talk to. There is a toll free number you can call. They’ll help when you feel no one else can.
You’re never alone.
Late to the Game 9/18/2018
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