Corey Taylor is somewhat of a polarising character these days. You either love him and his work, or you’re completely over him being in the public eye. There really doesn’t seem to be much middle ground in this – it’s love him or hate him.
Me, I think that he’s incredibly talented, and very versatile, and after seeing him perform live multiple times with Slipknot, Stone Sour and solo, I am a fan through and through. Often, I’ll have a bit of a giggle at some of the memes related to him, but in all honestly, I think he’s great, and any negativity is just “tall poppy syndrome”.
After last years release of the latest Slipknot album, and the potential swan song release from Stone Sour only a year prior to that, it’s hard to imagine that Taylor had anything left in the tank, but here we are, with the release of his first solo outing. There’s also been a string of guest appearances along the way, so it’s safe to say, CMFT is a busy man…
So how does the debut solo outing fare? Let’s get stuck in to it…
Opening track “HWY 666” kicks things off with some guitar shredding, before settling in to a country tinged landscape with echoing vocals and jangling guitars – it kind of throws you for a bit of a loop. Once it’s fully formed though, it’s a straight up rocker, and catchy as hell. It seems to be at least somewhat inspired by “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” in my opinion, and that influence is felt in the musical side of things more than the lyrics.
“Black Eyes Blue” is up next, and as the lead single, it was our first taste. I can almost hear the groans from some fans at the softer and more commercial nature of this track, but have they been paying attention? Remember tracks like “Bother”, “Through Glass” and “Song #3”? Corey Taylor has always displayed this side of himself outside of Slipknot, and he does it really well.
“Samanthas Gone” picks up the pace, and features some killer guitar work. This one is infectious as all hell. “Meine Lux” continues the faster pace. There’s a bit of a rockabilly feel here, albeit a little heavier. The use of gang vocals really gets me as well… I’m a sucker for a good gang vocal.
“Halfway Down” has a tonne of single potential, and provides one of the strongest moments of the album. A nice catchy, but simple guitar riff carries the song, and when coupled with the vocal harmonies, it’s a winning combination. Another great guitar solo boosts the song and makes it stand out.
At this point the mood of the album shifts gears. “Silverfish” offers up the first song that is truly a ballad. This style really serves to demonstrate what a great vocalist Corey Taylor actually is, and I expect him to deliver more of this style in the future. The guitar throughout this track is so familiar, that I had to check and see if Slash made an appearance- he doesn’t, but the influence is unmistakable.
“Kansas” is unapologetic in its accessibility, right down to the hand claps. Certainly not a bad song, and definitely another with major single potential. This will definitely alienate Slipknot fans though, but if “fans” can’t seperate the different aspects of this artists career, then it’s their loss…
“Culture Head” signals another shift in mood. We get a little darker here, and definitely heavier. The bass throughout this track is massive and rumbling. “Everybody Dies On My Birthday” is an anthem – musically up-tempo, big choruses, great lead guitar, and some more wonderful harmonies – it’s hard not to like this one. Both of these tracks would not have been out of place on Stone Sours “Hydrograd” album.
“The Maria Fire” ushers in another shift. The choruses are larger than life though, and will surely have you singing along, while “Home” is another ballad, this time driven by piano. It’s full of emotion, and arguably one of Taylor’s strongest vocals of his entire career.
The title track, “CFMT” is so much fun. It’s boisterous and easy to get pumped up by. It’s a message to his detractors, and it’s heard loud and clear – hate all you want, but CMFT can’t be stopped. The guest appearances from Kid Bookie and Tech N9ne add a different element to this record, but the hip hop element is nothing new to Taylor’s career. I love this track, and I’m not sorry about it.
Closing track “European Tour Bus Bathroom Song” is a frantic bit of punk rock goodness. Every lyric is spelled out letter for letter. There is not an actual word sung throughout the song. It’s a crazy concept, but it’s killer. Great energetic way to cap off this album.
So, in a nutshell, CMFT is a easy to enjoy album. It’s diverse enough that it could appeal to both Slipknot and Stone Sour fans, and find some new fans along the way, largely due to the accessible nature of tracks like “Black Eyes Blue”.
I liked it a lot, and recommend it highly.