Friday, May 26, 2017

Video Of The Week: Audioslave

Well, mentioning this song in last week's post about Soundgarden and Chris Cornell kind of put me in a bind, in terms of having to showcase Audioslave's best song - the one that doesn't fall into the Pearl Jam-imitation tropes so much as just tries to give a good rock show.

In theory, Audioslave was the perfect mix: musicians who had been in the game-changing band Rage Against The Machine, a mix of rap and hard rock that tackled issues of race and politics, whose riffs were reminiscent of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, with some N.W.A. attitude thrown in to add fuel to the fire; and the frontman from Soundgarden, a hard rock machine whose riffs were inspired by those of Sabbath and Zeppelin, with some Beatles sensibility thrown in for good rock measure.

In practice, though, the Rage musicians may have wanted to kick back and make "normal rock albums" for a while, but since becoming friends with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder and witnessing his rise to stardom, Cornell's traded away his wailing high-pitched classic rocker's voice for a Vedder-like smoother baritone that seems more like copycat than homage for the slower numbers, which really drags Audioslave's otherwise-decent output from the best it could have been (say, a Stone Temple Pilots level) to something barely more palatable than Candlebox, Creed, Bush and the like.

When they went rocking, though, such as on Cochise, seen here, they showed they could be a fine guitar-driven unit:

The video, featuring a shit-ton of fireworks, was directed by Mark Romanek, a leader in the art form, the director with the most Grammys to his name (3), as well as over 20 MTV Video Awards. He's directed clips for the likes of The The (Sweet Bird Of Truth), En Vogue (You Don't Have To Worry, Free Your Mind), De La Soul (Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)), Keith Richards (Wicked As It Seems), Teenage Fanclub (What You Do To Me), K.D. Lang (Constant Craving), Lenny Kravitz (Are You Gonna Go My Way, Is There Any Love In Your Heart), Madonna (Rain, Bedtime Story), David Bowie (Jump They Say, Black Tie White Noise), Iggy Pop (Beside You), Nine Inch Nails (Closer, The Perfect Drug), R.E.M. (Strange Currencies), Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson (Scream), Sonic Youth (Little Trouble Girl), Eels (Novocaine For The Soul), Weezer (El Scorcho), Beck (Devil's Haircut), Fiona Apple (Criminal), Macy Gray (I Try), Mick Jagger (God Gave Me Everything), No Doubt (Hella Good), Red Hot Chili Peppers (Can't Stop), Jay-Z (99 Problems, Picasso Baby), U2 (Invisible), Taylor Swift (Shake It Off), Beyoncé (Sandcastles), and Justin Timberlake (Can't Stop The Feeling), but his biggest contribution to the art form will forever remain his sober ad somber direction for Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's heart-wrenching Hurt.

He also directed the terrific features One Hour Photo (2002, starring Robin Williams) and 2010's Never Let Me Go, starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield.

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