Review Summary: Don't let the days go by...
The year is 1994. Bush's Sixteen Stone
cracks the Top 5 in the album charts. When its singles start to burn up the airwaves, you're either one of three people.
The grunge purist who thinks that this album is nothing but a rip-off of their favorite genre, claiming that Bush will never be as big as Nirvana, and are just stealing their thunder and taking advantage of a popular genre.
The Bush fanboy, who feels the honor to defend their favorite band's work, stating that Bush's sound is not a rip-off of Nirvana, and instead is a new type of music.
Or, you're just a casual music listener who thinks that Sixteen Stone
is a solid debut for Bush, one of the pioneers for a genre that would later be called post-grunge.
Gavin Rossdale's vocals are kind of reminiscent of a British version of Kurt Cobain, but it's not as blatant as Bush's detractors will have you think. His vocals are actually pretty good for post-grunge, considering some of the the terrible post-grunge frontmen that came later on (*cough*Chad Kroeger*cough*). However, sometimes Rossdale's vocals do get boring at some points, such as on "Alien", which goes on for six minutes and really drags on toward the end.
The first half of the album is clearly the better part, with energetic and catchy post-grunge jams. From the instantly memorable riff of "Machinehead" to the great drumming of "Little Things", Bush really started the album on a high note. The singles are mostly great, especially "Comedown" and "Machinehead". Some of the lesser known songs are also decent, like "Swim" and "Body", the latter of which you can really feel the passion in Rossdale's voice as he asks "Are you paralyzed?".
After a memorable first half, the second half is full of filler and really ruins the album. "Testosterone" is sterile and insanely repetitive, repeating the phrase "I'm real full of it" fifteen times at the end of the song, while "Alien" is unmemorable due to Rossdale's boring vocals and drags on for six and a half minutes. Luckily, "Glycerine" saves the otherwise boring and unmemorable second half. The biggest hit from the album, "Glycerine" is a ballad that deserves all of its success. You can clearly see why this song propelled them to fame; Rossdale's soft, but honest vocals, and moving lyrics (well, at least in the chorus).
Some of the lyrics on this album are truly horrendous. They range from peculiar ("Raindogs howl for the century, a million dollars a steak" in "Everything Zen") to just nonsensical and stupid ("I’m real straight, you wanna see my peccadillos, hot dog, 7:30 every morning" in "Testosterone").
In the end, Sixteen Stone
is a fairly decent debut album. The second half is full of filler, and the lyrics can be ridiculous and laughable at times. However, the first six tracks are mostly excellent, and some of Bush's best songs are on this album. This is Bush's best album, and they gradually went downhill from then. Overall, this album has its flaws as well as its highlights, and should be picked up by any post-grunge fan.