Corey Taylor – ‘CMF2’

By Katherine Allvey

If there was ever a metal remake of ‘The Sound Of Music’, Corey Taylor’s new album ‘CMF2’ would surely get a song devoted to it in recognition of how he has used all of his ‘Favourite Things’ in it’s creation. Metallica solos and acoustic country, embracing Slipknot and rhythms that are moody. Screaming and triumph and sweat on guitar strings. These are a few of Corey Taylor’s favourite things.

On his second solo outing, the frontman presents a musical Pinterest board of everything he loves. This includes everything from the Rolling Stones’ ‘Exile on Main Street’ to martial, Korny fight music that preaches solidarity between metal fans. The cover of ‘CMF2’ is an homage to Prince and the Beatles, just to make his diverse influences obvious. “I have no fear when it comes to music. None,” Taylor recently declared. “It feels so good to really lean into the things that I’ve been chomping at the bit to do.” As a result of trying to bring all this together, ’CMF2’ is an album that feels like a ‘Best Of’ compilation. Most songs are winners but unconnected to each other, with only Taylor’s force of personality uniting them. While his intention appears to be to make a personal statement about who he is and where his sound comes from, which explains the disjointed tracklist, an overarching theme would have smoothed down the rough edges on this record.

We could, however, reshuffle the tracks in our minds and divide the album into two sections like two sides of a vinyl record. The half we’ll nickname ‘Corey Has A Lot Of Feelings’ is mostly acoustic tracks with an emphasis on sharing what’s on his unmasked mind rather than big metal anthems. Prologue ‘The Box’ wins points for its use of mandolin and clear Led Zeppelin energy. Taylor’s trying to push himself, making his album into a presentation with lines that break the fourth wall like ‘enjoy the show’ on this introductory track. ‘Breath of Fresh Smoke’, a song Taylor’s had in his backpack for a while, is a straight-up country-lite road song with KISS solos, and ‘Sorry Me’ aims for desolate solo loneliness but unfortunately slides into torpor. Of the emotional tracks, ‘These Are The Days’ is perhaps the most surprising. It’s a starlit graduation song, all uplifting chords and almost U2 tones on his guitar. It’s all but guaranteed that this will be a metal couple’s first dance song at their wedding.

‘These Are The Days’ is not the only unexpected song on ‘CMF2’. The multi-instrumentalist has been a firm supporter of PTSD sufferers for a long time, launching his non-profit Taylor Foundation last year to help veterans and first-responders experiencing the condition, so it’s entirely on-brand for him to address the issue head on. Yet ‘Post Traumatic Blues’ is no pity party or cry for help. It’s a bold, gutsy track that hearkens back to his nu-metal days and celebrates the strength and determination it takes to achieve mental clarity. Including a song that not only pays tribute to the people he is determined to help, but is also a decent metal song, is an admirable move from Taylor. His desire to connect with his fanbase extends to ‘We Are The Rest’, a track destined to be a single release and fan favourite. Rejoicing in the solidarity between all the tribes of black-band-shirt-wearers, it’s got the kind of bridges and choruses designed to fill your lungs with song.

‘CMF2’ is a clear sign that Taylor has made peace with his past and is comfortable with who he is. He is unlikely to care if you share his interests, and hasn’t presented his wide range of influences to introduce you to them. This album is one he has made for himself about what he loves and cares about. There’s beauty in someone unashamedly being themselves and taking pleasure in their skills, but if you need reassurance after all this talk of Taylor’s unusual inspiration, then don’t worry – he hasn’t completely relegated his mask and jumpsuit to the back of his cupboard. If you’re looking for a Slipknot fix this album has enough songs in a similar vein to take the edge off your cravings. On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who puts Nikki Minaj and Neil Young on the same playlist, you’ll find a kindred spirit in Taylor. His desire to mix together everything he loves will resonate with you, and you’ll find a home for this album at the top of your rotation.

Kate Allvey

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