Californian soulster reaches his blue phase only to let the sunshine into this age of Aquarius.
It took CC getting soul classics out of his system to pick up where "In The Moment" left off and return, in rather invigorated form, to writing and delivering original material. Cornell may follow a monochrome pattern with regards to artwork, yet such an approach doesn’t reflect his multicolored emotional expanse that’s set in on this record’s opener “Winners” – although a piece of aggrandizing review for a preface hardly fits the songs’ overall theme – whose celebratory suppleness is truly contagious. Perhaps, Carter’s current intensity could end here, because he’s seemingly chosen to be unobtrusive as much as to let the latter part of the album pass by the listener somehow unnoticeable.
But if the R&B behind “Somethin’ Like” is too silky to fully register, while the sweetly funky “Free” is wrapped in soft falsetto, the ’70s-styled “That’s My Baby” feels deliciously mellifluous and “That Feelin'” transcendentally cosmic. It can require a few spins to discover subtle electronica enhancing “Life” yet, as smooth as it is scintillating, the underlying dance motif of “Relax” would be opposite to what the piece’s title suggests, with the singalong-inducing chorus of “Badeyah” simply irresistible. So whereas intensity might come in handy, there’s a different way CC’s velvet glove should find sympathetic soul.