Stone Temple Pilots' first album, Core, was released in a very lucky time. Only a year earlier, Nirvana's hit single Smells Like Teen Spirit was released, and by this time it had reached pop stations everywhere. Pearl Jam's singles also fared incredibly well on rock radio and everyone was completely hooked on the 'grunge' trend. Enter Core, STP's debut album. It became an instant hit, and would eventually sell up to 8 million albums. The leading single, Sex Type Thing, became a popular video on MTV, helping them enter into stardom. When the singles "Plush" and "Creep" were released, they spent a lot of time at the top of the rock charts. Everyone knew who these guys were after just a few months, and they proved to be one of the most popular bands in the grunge movement(behind only Pearl Jam and Nirvana). Despite this, they were attacked by numerous critics for being 'Grunge imitators'. Even to this day, some people still consider them a second rate grunge band. I would consider them even better than the artists they were claimed to have ripped off of.
The album, Core, is a definite rock classic. Despite its commercial success, most critics would not include it in a list of essential albums. It is dangerously underrated, and I think every fan of rock music in general, whether they liked Grunge music or not, needs to give this album a good listen. Here's a track by track:
1. Dead and Bloated - A classic song to kick off the album. It starts off with Weiland shouting at the top off his lungs before a slow, heavy, grunge guitar riff comes in, along with the rest of the band. Weiland continues singing in the same tone over the instruments. This does get boring after awhile on your first few listens, and it really took me awhile to get into it. The best part though, is the chorus. Weiland's "Oh ohh, yeahheahyeahh" are the definition of catchy, and the guitar chords behind them make for one of the best choruses on the entire album. -- 8/10
2. Sex Type Thing - The song that got me into STP. It starts off with another distortion heavy grunge riff that actually sounds kind of cool. This part happens to be the worst part of the song, however. The verse is much faster paced than the intro/main riff, and really builds up to the chorus almost perfectly. The chorus is again extremely catchy, and probably even better than Dead & Bloated's. Unfortunately, by the time the ending comes around, the song tends to lag. -- 8.5/10
3. Wicked Garden - Probably the grungiest song on the entire album. Another song that takes many listens to get into, although is considerable faster paced that the two before it, which is a welcome change. The chorus is again the best part of the song, although not quite as catchy as its predecessors. Overall, a solid rock song that is a great addition to the album once you get into it. -- 7/10
4. No Memory - A cool Metallica-esque instrumental song that builds up to the next track, Sin. There's nothing special about it, but it never gets boring, due to its length. Probably the closest thing to filler on this album, if you don't want to consider it part of Sin. -- 5/10
5. Sin - Phenomenal song. You would think with its length and slow pace it would eventually start to get boring, but it never does. The lyrics are some of the best on the album, and Weiland's vocals do them justice. It's also the most technical challenging song on the album, instrument wise, which honestly doesn't mean much. That's not to slant Dean DeLeo's guitar work, but like many Grunge bands of the time, they weren't really based on technical ability. -- 9.5/10
6. Naked Sunday - Another incredible piece of work, and probably the fastest song on the album. It is a very different style from the rest of the album, definitely showing their punk influences here. Eric Kretz's drum work on here is at its peak, and Weiland's vocals definitely take on a different style. Overall a sort of experimentational song for the album, and it worked incredibly. -- 10/10
7. Creep - The slowest song on the album. This ballad is one of their most popular songs, and for good reason. The lyrics throughout, while they don't make much sense, are insanely fun to sing along to. This song does tend to get boring if you listen to it too much though, especially near the end. -- 8/10
8. Piece of Pie - Much faster paced than the previous song, Piece of Pie is another very grungy song, and reminds me a lot of Alice in Chains. These lyrics are pretty nonsensical as well(something STP would become known for on their later albums), but still great. The guitar is pretty simple on this album, only sticking to two main riffs throughout. This song does tend to drag out as well, and could easily have been shaved down a minute(one of the upsides of the follow up album, Purple, is that they kept the songs short enough so you wouldn't get bored by them). It is still a very fun song to play and sing along to. -- 8/10
9. Plush - The band's biggest hit before Interstate Love Song came out. This song is one of the catchiest songs on the record, and maintains this all the way through. It was a radio hit for a reason. It also contains 'not too slow not too fast' distorted chords throughout the song to help it maintain its pace. -- 9.5/10
10. Wet My Bed - Actually, THIS is the closest thing to filler on the record, because that's exactly what it is. I tend to forget this song, because it isn't really memorable at all. It is kinda funny if you're into that kind of humor, but its slow pace really gets boring if you sit there and listen to the whole thing. The only song on the album I would recommend skipping - 2/10.
11. Crackerman - One of the greatest rock songs of all time. Besides Naked Sunday, this is the fastest song on the record. There isn't much of an intro, and it gets right to the verse. Weiland sings about whatever the hell it is, and DeLeo plays a three power-chord guitar riff below him. A driving bass even lower, and Kretz slamming on his drum set create an incredible effect that builds up to the catchiest chorus on the album. -- 10/10
12. Where the River Goes - Finally we get to the album closer. This song, more than any other on the album, takes a lot of listens to get into. It contains some very nice guitar work by Dean DeLeo, and the vocals never start to lag. Its a very good song for the first four minutes, and then you realize that it keeps going, for eight and a half minutes! This song doesn't even go anywhere, just the same verse/chorus with a few interludes in there. It works very nicely as an album closer, but they could have at least shortened it down to four or five minutes -- 6.5/10
Overall the album is a great experience, especially when you listen to it all the way through. None of the actual songs on here are misses, and are for the most part, fun, catchy, rock songs, without losing value over time. The opposite is actually true. The more you listen to the album, the better the songs sound. The only songs I loved immediately were Sex Type Thing and Plush, the other took 2-4 listens. Core sold 8 million copies for a reason, it is undeniably a rock music classic, and certainly not just for fans of grunge.
-the only filler track on the album is the one that was meant to be
-the album is one you can listen to all the way through and still be rocking out by the end
-most of the choruses are extremely catchy and fun to sing along to
-the majority of the songs take a few listens to get into
-some of the songs do tend to drag out a bit
Scott Weiland - Lead Vocals
Dean DeLeo - Guitar
Robert DeLeo - Bass, Backing Vocals
Eric Kretz - Drums