Corey Taylor has proven himself over the years to be one of the most talented, charismatic and enigmatic frontmen in hard rock and heavy metal. Through his two bands Slipknot and Stone Sour he’s become a legend in rock history, a lot of which is obviously thanks to Slipknot becoming one of the biggest and most influential metal bands to come out of the late 90s and early 00s nu-metal era despite being one of the harsher and more experimental bands out of that scene. A lot of people have clamoured for Corey Taylor to make a solo album over the years and he’s put it off multiple times. That was until earlier this year, however, when he decided to gather together a collection of songs he’s written over the years that didn’t fit either with Slipknot or Stone Sour. Taylor then put together a band of some of his best friends in the music industry and decamped to a studio during the lockdown period to bash out those songs. The end result is CMFT and it’s been arguably one of the most hyped albums of the entire year. Does CMFT live up to that hype, or should Taylor stick more to his bands? Let’s put the record on and find out…
From the very start of CMFT it’s very clear that this record treads a pretty different path to the musical territory of Slipknot and Stone Sour. This is much more like a good old-fashioned rock’n’roll album than the thrashing heaviness of Slipknot or the post-grunge sensibilities of Stone Sour. That classic rock approach is very evident on ‘Samantha’s Gone’, a romping and stomping AC/DC-style brash rock anthem with duelling guitar solos aplenty and a fun singalong chorus. Fun seems to be the key theme of this entire album, actually. It feels like Taylor has broken free of the much more serious demeanour he needs to slip into to write for his two main projects and propelled himself headlong into a classic rock and punk rock party!
‘Meine Lux’ is a great example of that fun-loving nature, as is the thumping rap-rock of the album’s lead single ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’ that features verses from midwest legend Tech N9ne and up-and-coming British rapper Kid Bookie (two people who have already collaborated with Taylor in the past). The feelgood country-rock of ‘Kansas’ definitely embraces that fun and free spirit too, especially when it gets to the chorus and the guitar solo section! The hilariously dumb closing track ‘European Tour Bus Bathroom Song’ also deserves a mention here for the sheer fun factor, even though it’s more of an outro skit than a proper song.
Whilst it is generally a fun, wild and free album, that doesn’t mean some seriousness and typically Corey Taylor social commentary isn’t present. ‘Culture Head’ rallies against cancel culture, expressing how Taylor feels that it’s making a mockery out of holding people accountable for their actions, whilst ‘Black Eyes Blue’ is a brilliant classic rock love song. The lilting of ‘The Maria Fire’, a song about his previous relationship, is Taylor at his lyrical best as he tells you how he really feels about his former lover. Contrasted to that, ‘Home’ is an achingly beautiful ode to his current partner, Alicia, that, although originally written on guitar, Taylor painstakingly took two and a half years of piano lessons to be performed as he felt it should be. The result of his beautifully earnest attempt at playing the piano on a record along with one of the best vocal performances that he’s ever pulled off makes ‘Home’ the real standout of CMFT.
Was CMFT worth the years and years of hype and repeated hints of a Corey Taylor solo album? I’d say it absolutely was. It shows a totally different side to the musicality of Slipknot and Stone Sour’s celebrated and outspoken frontman, dipping into areas of music that he’d only just hinted at being able to cover previously. More importantly than that though, it’s an album that’s a right good laugh! It’s Corey Taylor and his best pals thrashing out 13 tracks of good old-fashioned rock’n’roll when the rest of the world had shut down and having the absolute best time doing it. Coupled with that, we get some of the best songwriting Taylor has ever put out in songs like “Home”, “The Maria Fire”, “Black Eyes Blue”, “Culture Head” and “Samantha’s Gone”. I really hope that Taylor’s solo career isn’t a one and done and that we not only get a few more solo records out of him, but that we also get some live shows as this stuff would be absolutely fantastic live!
Words by Robert Percy
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