Remember when Chris Cornell was cool and kind of awesome? Yeah, that was a long time ago. Since his days fronting alternative godfathers Soundgarden, Cornell's hair got gradually shorter and thus drained him like Samson of any of once compelling musical powers. He formed the forgettable Audioslave with the guys from Rage Against The Machine who aren't Zach De La Rocha and after that he embarked on an embarrassing and increasingly terrible solo career that culminated in his attempt to be Justin Timberlake with 2009's Scream produced by Timbaland. That's right, the guy who once sang "Jesus Christ Pose" was working with the guy who twiddled knobs for Pussycat Dolls. Anyway, Cornell is rebounding somewhat. He's back with the boys in Soundgarden and has begun making steps into writing music for movies, having penned "You Know My Name" for Casino Royale, which brings us to his latest work, "The Keeper" for "Machine Gun Preacher."
Relativity Media announced that the song from Marc Forster's upcoming Oscar hopeful has landed online today, and if you purchase the digital download in the next 24 hours at Cornell's site, proceeds will go to Sam Childers’ Angels Of East Africa charity. From tomorrow onward, you can buy it at iTunes. So how does the song fare? Compared to what Cornell has done recently, it's the best thing he's done in a long, long time even though it's pretty lyrically on the nose, and a compositionally safe and familiar song. It kind of sounds like a song Eddie Vedder would have scrapped, but it's hardly offensive and does what it's supposed to.
If you did like what you hear and want the full "Machine Gun Preacher" experience, you can get the full soundtrack on Tuesday, September 20th featuring 15 pieces written for the film by Asche & Spencer performed by the 60-piece Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. If you live in New York and Los Angeles, the film opens on September 23rd and it will roll out to more cities in the weeks that follow. The film will premiere first at TIFF in September. Listen to Cornell's tune below.