Stone Temple Pilots – Shangri-La Dee Da (2001)


No. 4 gave Stone Temple Pilots the comeback they were looking for, albeit a little later and a little differently than expected. Nearly a year after its release, “Sour Girl” gave the band its biggest hit in years, and it set up their fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da, perfectly. They seized this opportunity by turning out the same record as the time before, splitting the difference between heavy rockers and sugar-sweet psych-pop tunes. That’s not a bad thing, nor is it unexpected, since they’ve basically been staking this same territory since Tiny Music, yet at this point, it feels as if the Pilots are comfortably within a musical groove, no matter how much turmoil they have privately. Here, as on 4, they’re not just better on the pop tunes, they’re phenomenal on the pop tunes. Regardless of their critical reputation, no rock band of their time turned out such a consistently dazzling streak of pop tunes. Sometimes, the rockers do catch hold ? “Dumb Love” provides a gripping opening, “Hollywood Bitch” has a real sense of propulsion, the dreamy “Hello It’s Late” has a gentle rush of its own ? but, by this point, they don’t seem as interesting as the excursions into psych-pop that gives Shangri-La Dee Da its real core. That’s nothing new, but that’s not a bad thing at all.

1 Dumb Love
2 Days of the Week
3 Coma
4 Hollywood Bitch
5 Wonderful
6 Black Again
7 Hello It’s Late
8 Too Cool
9 Regeneration
10 Bi-Polar Bear
11 Transmissions From a Lonely Room
12 A Song for Sleeping
13 Long Way Home

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Stone Temple Pilots – No. 4 (1999)


It would be tempting to scour No. 4, Scott Weiland’s reunion with Stone Temple Pilots, for insights into his troubles, yet the group consciously avoids this throughout the album. That’s for the best, since it’s their hardest effort since their debut, Core. “Down” and “Heaven & Hot Rods” provide a powerful, brutal opening for No. 4 ? it’s as if STP decided to compete directly with the new generation of alt-metal bands who prize aggression over hooks or riffs. With these two songs, the band’s attack is as vicious as that of the new generation, but they retain their gift for gargantuan hooks. Much of the album hits pretty hard ? most explicitly on “No Way Out,” “Sex & Violence,” and “MC5,” ? and even the ballads and neo-psychedelic pop have none of the swirling production that distinguished Tiny Music. That sense of adventure is missed, because even if the album finds STP returning to the muscular hard rock that made them, they always sounded better when they concentrated on melodicism. No. 4’s most effective moments have a variety of sonic textures and color ? “Pruno” tempers its giant riffs with spacy verses; “Church on Tuesday” is a great pop tune, as are the trippy “Sour Girl” and “I Got You”; and the psychedelic “Glide” and closing ballad, “Atlanta,” have a sense of majesty. These songs anchor the heavier moments, instead of the other way around, and it all plays well together. As a matter of fact, No. 4 is as tight as Tiny Music. Even if it isn’t as grandiose or sonically compelling as that effort, it’s a record that consolidates all their strengths.

1 Down
2 Heaven & Hot Rods
3 Pruno
4 Church on Tuesday
5 Sour Girl
6 No Way Out
7 Sex & Violence
8 Glide
9 I Got You
10 MC5
11 Atlanta

Stone Temple Pilots – Tiny Music…Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996)


Purple established that Stone Temple Pilots were not one-album wonders but Tiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop illustrates that the band aren’t content with resting on their laurels. Without abandoning their trademark hard rock, STP have added a new array of sounds that lend depth to their immediately accessible hooks. Dean DeLeo layers his guitar tracks to create distinctive, multi-textured sounds that make his riffs more powerful. Though there are hints of grunge scattered throughout the album, what makes Tiny Music impressive is how the band brings in elements of psychedelia, trancy shoegaze, jangle pop, and other forms of melodic alternative guitar pop. By accentuating their pop tendencies in both their riffs and melodies, they are able to slip in a number of creative arrangements which manage to expand their musical repertoire significantly. Although the lyrics are nearly as ambitious as the music, they simply don’t have the same weight. But with a band like Stone Temple Pilots, the music is what matters and Tiny Music showcases the band at their most tuneful and creative.

1 Press Play
2 Pop’s Love Suicide
3 Tumble in the Rough
4 Big Bang Baby
5 Lady Picture Show
6 And So I Know
7 Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart
8 Art School Girl
9 Adhesive
10 Ride the Clich?
11 Daisy
12 Seven Caged Tigers

Stone Temple Pilots – Purple (1994)


Stone Temple Pilots had hits with Core, but they got no respect. They suffered a barrage of savage criticism and it must have hurt, since their second effort seems a conscious effort to distinguish themselves as a band not indebted to grunge. That didn’t get them anywhere, as they were attacked as viciously as before, but Purple is nevertheless a quantum leap over their debut, showcasing a band hitting its stride. Yes, they were considerably more mainstream than their peers, but time has proven that that’s their primary charm, since they were unafraid to temper their grunge with big arena hooks and swirling melodies. It works particularly well on the tight, concise “Vasoline” and the acoustic-based “Pretty Penny,” but it really shines on the record’s two masterpieces, “Big Empty” and “Interstate Love Song.” “Big Empty” is ominous and foreboding, yet remains anthemic, a perfect encapsulation of mainstream alienation that is surpassed only by “Interstate Love Song,” a concise epic as alluring as the open highway. Those singles are proof positive that STP was the best straight-ahead rock singles outfit of their time.

1 Meat Plow
2 Vasoline
3 Lounge Fly
4 Interstate Love Song
5 Still Remains
6 Pretty Penny
7 Silver Gun Superman
8 Big Empty
9 Unglued
10 Army Ants
11 Kitchen Ware & Candy Bars

Stone Temple Pilots – MTV Unplugged (1993)


Stone Temple Pilots taped a performance for “MTV Unplugged” in New York City in November of 1993. Band members Weiland (vocals), Robert DeLeo (bass), Dean DeLeo (guitars) and Eric Kretz (drums) perform a rockin’ acoustic set featuring tracks off their debut album Core.

1 Crackerman
2 Creep
3 Plush
4 Wicked Garden
5 Andy Warhol
6 Big Empty
7 Sex Type Thing

Stone Temple Pilots – Core (1992)


1 Dead & Bloated
2 Sex Type Thing
3 Wicked Garden
4 No Memory
5 Sin
6 Naked Sunday
7 Creep
8 Piece of Pie
9 Plush
10 Wet My Bed
11 Crackerman
12 Where the River Goes

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