There are few fans of rock and metal who would fail to recognize the name Corey Taylor on sight, this one artist’s legacy long-cemented in the hallowed halls of legend. One could argue that rather than just being a fixture of heavy music, Taylor is an inseparable part of its modern foundation. Torn between the pedestals of Slipknot and Stone Sour fame, the vocalist and lyricist has spent decades racking up platinum hits, hordes of fans, and guest spots on projects of all genres. Across the years his influence has been relegated primarily to these big-name bands, leaving nothing to call exclusively his own, up until now. The creative streak which gave birth to some of the most well-known names in heavy music has now lent its fire to Taylor’s first solo album, the punchy “CMFT.” Distinct from both of the artist’s most well-known projects, yet clearly a product of Taylor’s unmistakable voice, this is an album that lays bare Taylor’s desires and inspirations with a heavy-handed dose of self-professed indulgence.
If there was any question if years of stardom has had any effect on Taylor, “CMFT” lays them to rest. It is the album that any ego-high young adult would dream of making were they granted the leverage and resources to pursue their wildest musical fantasies. Stuffed to the brim with arena-rockers and gratuitous celebrations of past achievements, “CMFT” soaks in the revelry of what it means to be Corey Taylor and to have the world at your fingertips. Even the tentative country-ballad tracks such as “Kansas” and crooning “Silverfish” have a hint of a vision that somehow, someday, crowds will fill stadiums just to see Taylor work his magic. This is a contrast against the high-octane, almost pop-rock jaunts of “Samantha’s Gone” and galloping “Everybody Dies On My Birthday.” For the most part, every piece of the “CMFT” puzzle is practically begging its listeners to give in to its thrills and embrace an unequivocal good time.
One of the biggest pain points of “CMFT” is that the originality truly suffers, for each song in the 13-track album seems built to be a hit single. There is little to make this album stand out as something remarkable in the saturated world of modern rock, and even less to make this stand out as something original coming from such a seminal artist. “Black Eyes Blue” seems like a template for any radio-ready anthem, one common thread tying “CMFT” together. There’s no doubt that this is an album ripe for the wonders of FM Radio, joined by clean and simple lyrics which don’t leave much to the imagination, further dotted by brief and delectable guitar solos. “Meine Lux” sees the rhythm of a party hit interspersed by clean, nimble guitars that never stray into the realm of pure complexity or inaccessibility. All of “CMFT” is rooted in the memorable, the infectiously catchy, and counts on listeners catching the hunger for something more which comes from listening to one explosive song in passing.
What separates “CMFT” from any other ego project is the wisdom of its creator and what seems like a near infinite pool of resources to grant it unparalleled production. “CMFT” has the luxury of being defined by dazzling Hollywood clarity that borders just on the edge of overproduced. Taylor is always carefully mixed directly to the front, maintaining a voice that has both its iconic tone and unfaltering confidence in delivery. With the exception of key guitar riffs this is the balance the album maintains through its course, keeping Taylor the star of his own show. Be it the country influences or splash of hip-hop towards the album’s end, there’s always a clear focus on the album’s centerpiece.
“CMFT” is an album which sees Taylor celebrate what it means to be Corey Taylor, even if this means poking a touch of fun at himself in the process. There’s no doubt that this is exactly the album that Taylor wanted to make, and when it comes to listening as an outsider, it’s best to just relax and enjoy the ride for what it is. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the depths of “CMFT,” with the imagery of coasting down empty highways with the album blasting through the speakers or being embraced by the crush of a sold-out festival. Is it the most imaginative album to hit the stage? No. But is it the album that fits uniquely into the Taylor legacy, and one that will let him share another dimension of himself to the world? Almost certainly. And for those still left curious, all it takes is a single listen to the track “CMFT Must Be Stopped” for an idea of just how seriously Corey ‘MF’ Taylor takes himself after all this time. For a rollicking glimpse into the passion of this artist’s wildest dreams of rock ‘n’ roll, “CMFT” delivers fun and artistic liberty, even if it doesn’t wow in its technicality or originality.
Released By: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: October 2nd, 2020
- Corey Taylor / Vocals
- Christian Martucci / Guitar
- Zach Throne / Guitar
- Jason Christopher / Bass
- Dustin Robert / Drums
- HWY 666
- Black Eyes Blue
- Samantha’s Gone
- Meine Lux
- Halfway Down
- Culture Head
- Everybody Dies On My Birthday
- The Maria Fire
- CMFT Must Be Stopped
- The European Tour Bus Song
Years of being one of the most serious influences in rock and metal has yielded the unexpected from the legendary Corey Taylor: an opportunity to have fun. Party anthems mix with dashes of country and hip-hop for an eclectic and liberating glimpse at what takes up the rest of Taylor's creative mind.