Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” isn’t this week’s only surprise release.
Early Friday morning, Chris Cornell’s estate released a new posthumous album from the late Soundgarden and Audioslave rocker, who died in 2017 at 52.
“No One Sings Like You Anymore,” out now, is a 10-song collection of covers recorded by Cornell in 2016 after touring in support of solo record “Higher Truth,” released a year prior. The new set reflects his eclectic music taste, with covers of hidden gems and lesser-known cuts by John Lennon (“Watching the Wheels”), Janis Joplin (“Get It While You Can”), Electric Light Orchestra (“Showdown”), Ghostland Observatory (“Sad Sad City”), and others.
“This record showcases Chris’ vocal abilities and the breadth of what he was able to do. There’s a reason why he is one of the greatest voices of his time,” says his widow Vicky Cornell. “What’s really special about this is you get to see a different side of Chris. It gives you a glimpse into his world and lets you see him as a fan. Fans have their playlists and this would maybe be Chris’ (playlist): what resonated with him personally, and what he thought could be fun and add his stamp on.”
Cornell talks to USA TODAY about her late husband, with whom she shares two children: Toni, 16, and Christopher, 15. (His eldest daughter, Lily, 20, is from a previous marriage to Susan Silver.)
Question: One of my favorites on this album was “Watching the Wheels,” which Lennon wrote about fatherhood and was also released posthumously. What drew Chris to that song?
Vicky Cornell: Chris was a huge Beatles fan but also a huge Lennon fan, and this song was one of his favorites. He connected to it personally: It was about Lennon changing his whole life around, and for Chris, it was a lot about putting aside that self-destructive behavior and deciding, “That’s not who I wanna be,” and deciding to be clean and have a family and that his family was the most important thing. When our (kids) were babies and he was with Audioslave, he would literally get off stage and we’d go back to the hotel, bathe them and put them to bed. He was just this family man. It’s probably hard for people to even imagine Chris Cornell going to every single parent-teacher conference. Even making this record, we took over this small wing of the Beverly Hills Hotel and the kids would wake up in the morning with Chris, we’d all have breakfast together, go to the studio and they’d be there the whole day until it was time to do their lessons. So I think this song resonated so much with him – and for me, it means so much – because this was our life.
Q: In light of his death, are there any other songs that resonate differently with you now?
Cornell: A lot of people think Chris was suffering from depression. He was not and this album illustrates that. … Chris was a very happy man: a father and husband, and happy with his life. I think a lot of these songs, though, did resonate with him differently.