The Game Needs Stevie Cornell’s New Album
What an album Stevie Cornell’s come with, on his eponymously released project that graced the world at the end of last month. Stevie Cornell is true music, songwriting, arrangements, and melodies that are nothing short of timeless.
Running through this piece is something of a quandary when seeking to answer the key question: what sounds better, the man’s voice as a singer, or his omnipresent guitar as an instrument? One really can’t go wrong either way, and Stevie certainly doesn’t for the duration of this effort.
Still, the nod to the classic oldies sounds of the 50’s, and even 60’s, presents a strong case for the former, particularly on the album opener “If Crying is a Crime”. Could be the rides played in eighths like a high hat, but there’s some indistinguishable quality about this record (the rhythm, perhaps?) that definitely gives it this classic appeal.
But then it becomes apparent: it’s his voice. Sure, he’s got a good hook on this one (that’s that songwriting), but when he blends tracks during the verses, you’d have to really think about it to not believe you’re listening to the Everly Brothers—particularly with the tune’s easy, meandering pace and the surplus of guitars.
Nonetheless, Cornell’s so accomplished at his guitar that there are some cuts where, because it sounds so good, you almost wish it were an acapella guitar effort. Disbelievers need only go to “Hope Came By Today” to become proselytized. Cornell’s making his guitar speak, quietly, practically incessantly, evoking images of the rippling current somewhere nice—and that’s before he gets to bending effected guitars during the bridge, the hook, or even just during his downtime.
The entire aesthetic of this LP—just a man and his guitar, singing simple songs of love, primarily—works wondrously and will never play out. Not when Cornell’s singing the way he is on “Sailboat”, a track so trill it eschews kicks (there might not be a snare on this whole album), steeping itself in percussion and Cornell’s way too smooth falsetto, itself conjuring vision of poesy and undulating, silently sweeping meadowlands.
Yes, it’s been a long time since an album like this graced the game and, as the saying goes, the game needs it.