Release Date: October 2nd, 2020
For the past 23 years, we’ve known Corey Taylor as the raging singer of Slipknot. His impressive vocal range, which goes from throat-shredding growls to soft croons, wild energy, and zero-fucks-given attitude make him one of rock’s most iconic frontmen. Now, Taylor is ready to go solo on his debut album, CMFT. While the album gives us a different side of Taylor, it struggles to stand out and lacks Taylor’s distinct personality making it sound flat and generic.
On this album, Taylor moves away from the brutality of Slipknot for a sound inspired by country and Southern rock. Opening with the outlaw country-inspired “HWY 666” where he encounters the devil, the album starts off strong with raucous party anthems like “Samantha’s Gone” and “Meine Lux.” These songs have boot-stomping energy with catchy hooks made for singing in dingy bars at three in the morning. Unfortunately, this is where the album peaks.
Whereas the opening tracks are fun, energetic, and filled with memorable hooks, the rest of the album is bland and generic. Taylor’s boisterous personality is lacking on tracks like the cheesy “Kansas” and the dull “Home” a ballad that aims to be sentimental yet misses the mark. “The Maria Fire” tries to change things up with its lounge feel, but still manages to be forgettable and while “The European Bathroom Song” is an adrenaline rush with its blistering riffs, it feels incomplete. Though some songs may eventually grow on you, like the alt-country “Black Eyes Blues,” the album doesn’t hold your attention for long. After the first few songs, you’re ready to move on.
It’s disappointing the record is lackluster because the direction is promising. A number of songs have a great vibe to them, which works even better with the Southern rock sound. But aside from those brief moments, little about the album stands out. Even the misguided “CMFT Must Be Stopped” is notable for its rap influence. The song is awkward, particularly Taylor’s rapping, but at least he goes for it. He’s bold, brash, and cocky here. The inclusion of Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie defies expectations. It’s this attitude and level of experimentation that’s missing from the album. Whereas most songs feel like they could be by any alt-rock artist, this one feels distinctly like Corey Taylor. It’s not a great song, but it at least it’s not dull and forgettable like most of the album.
CMFT is like a party that peaks way too early. The first few songs are promising, but the rest of the record is underwhelming. The bulk of songs are generic or outright forgettable. Taylor changes his sound here, but not enough to make it stand out from what’s already on the radio. Aside from a few songs, there’s little that makes it feel like a Corey Taylor record. There are moments where it’s wild and fun, but it’s missing that gutsy bravado Taylor is known for. It’s a decent record, but after a few plays, there’s little desire to listen to it again.