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The good news? This oft-delayed collaboration between Chris Cornell and overpriced hip-hop producer Timbaland isn't quite the creative debacle snarkster trainspotters have prophesied. The bad news? Scream doesn't even approach Cornell's best moments fronting Soundgarden or that mental triple CD-R set of Timbaland deep cuts you've got stuck on repeat. More laughably awkward than this marquee ex-grunge idol embracing hip-hop's most egregious parlance is Timbaland's misbegotten belief that anyone could turn Cornell into a bankable pop star. Had Scream been cut six or seven years earlier - when Cornell still had some juice - bewilderment might come easier. But at this point, what else has the guy got to lose?
Cornell's solo albums cratered, and nobody seemed to notice that he penned a pretty decent opening song for a Bond flick; why shouldn't he try his hand at an R&B career? Why shouldn't he write a song about how his woman shouldn't yell at him when they fight ("Scream," a bit too indebted to OneRepublic's "Apologize," which Timbaland also had a hand in), replete with wingman mumblings from the producer?
Why shouldn't Cornell insist, while defending himself against accusations of adultery, that "that bitch ain't a part of me"? Why shouldn't there be a guitar-centered tune about femme fatales titled "Watch Out" that uses bad driving as a central metaphor and makes reference to ska dance moves? Why shouldn't Justin Timberlake show up to guest on Bollywood oddity "Take Me Alive? It's all so weird that it actually makes a cosmic sort of sense, and I get the feeling that, in taking this project on, Timbaland just saw an opportunity to paw off some third-rate beats on Cornell for full price. 8 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel, 713-225-5483 or www.warehouselive.com. Sold out.