With the release of their 1992 debut album, titled Core
, the Stone Temple Pilots (whose previous band name was "Might Joe Young") were grouped by the media into the category known as 'Grunge'. Core did spawn a number of singles for the band including the massive Plush
, Sex Type Thing
and Wicked Garden
, but the band didn't really get the full credit, recognition or rather, respect that they deserved, at least not in the eyes of the general media. By 1993, Stone Temple Pilots, fronted by the ever popular Scott Weiland, were back in the studio to record this sophomore album. By the late spring of 1994, Purple
(which title is noticeably absent from the album itself) was ready to be released. The album was released to, for the most part, critical acclaim by both fans of the band and the general public as it in ways differed them from other so called grunge bands at the time. Purple, in ways had the same gloom and darkness of the previous album, but also had other elements different like adding some acoustic guitar as well as Scott furthering his vocal ability for the better, making it more clearly to the public that he wasn't Eddie Vedder. Purple remains as one of the bands best as well as being one of the most popular 90's alt rock albums.
Stone Temple Pilots-Purple
Purple does contain many of the elements the grunge genre is known for. It has its share of distorted guitars (although not nearly as much as others), deep vocals, as well as some dark lyrics. These factors obviously do not pertain just to grunge bands but many similar bands at the time had these components clear in their music. But basically, STP came on the scene at the time of that era, so they were grouped in it too. However, the grunge factor did wear off mostly with their later matetial. As far as the lyrics go, Scott can sing a variety of subject that includes dark lyrics and at times, some random things. Silvergun Superman
shows a dark side as Scott bellows "I can hear when the pig whispers sweetly, jealousy is the weapon you kill me"
. And at other times the lyrics are incoherent and difficult to understand from a first listen like in Unglued
where Weiland sings in the verse "This confusion is my illusion, nowhere to look, but know where to find ya"
. Though it may seem like Scott didn't know what he is talking about there, his excellent song writing in Interstate Love Song
, among others including the love song Still Remains
show that he is a talented song writer. His voice is also a strong point of the album. Many people at first said that he was just taking Eddie Vedder's "style". While both have great voices in my opinion, I can clearly distinguish between him and the Pearl Jam frontman. Scott can sing various tones form the aggressive style of Army Ants
to the softer, mellow voice of Big Empty
, at which he both does quite well. As for the other band members, they also manage to pull the instruments off nicely. Dean DeLeo plays solid guitar riffs, and although does not play too many technical guitar solos, when he does them, he does them effectively. He also plays the acoustic track Pretty Penny
exceptional. His brother Robert also manages to play some stellar bass lines most noticeable on Vasoline
. At the back end, Eric Kretz keeps it all happening with his steady drumming and at times throws in some great drum fills. To sum it up, the band has great chemistry and shows it on here.
Purple contains some of the bands biggest hits of their career. Interstate Love Song
and Big Empty
are all fairly easy recognizable tunes even if you are not too familiar with STP. Though these songs are very popular singles and still played on mainstream rock radio today, they are also some of the best on the record, which is not the case with all albums. Vasoline
, the first of the singles released, captures the signature style of the Stone Temple Pilots. Featuring a penetrating bassline, distorted guitars along with a catchy riff, and Scott signature deep vocals, Vaseline stands out on the record and a smart choice as a single as it can appeal to many people, which some songs on here may not at first. Interstate Love Song
was, along with Plush, a huge success for the band and a song most people know. The song does not focus as much on the hard rock, but more on the mellower side of things as the song flows perfectly and displays Scott's vocal talent quite well. The song is driven by the main guitar riff, not too heavy. An excellent track and a stand out one too. Big Empty
blends the soft side of STP with the hauntingly quiet verses, and the heavy side, with the loud chorus. And as I mentioned, shows the gloomy lyrics of Scott as he repeatedly yells "Conversations Kill"
during the song.
It would be a lie to say that the three big singles are what save this record. The album has many solid tracks and no completely skippable tracks. If I had to pick some highlights, they would have to be the album opener Meat plow
, track number nine Unglued
, and the lighter Still Remains
. Meat plow is a strong opener with its grungy riffs, messy solo and dreary chorus. The song sounds as if it could of fit right on Core. Unglued
is one of the fastest songs on the album, as well as one of the shortest. The chorus is one of the best as it builds momentum to the next verse. The song is built around the simple guitar riff and fast drums and also has a very cool solo. But before you know it the song is over at around 2:30. Still Remains
is a softer track, but just as good as the harder ones. With emotional lyrics, Scott delivers one of the best vocal outings on the album. He explores different ranges here as he sings higher pitched during the chorus. Army Ants
is a personal favorite of mind, and one that really show that STP can make an excellent hard rock song.
is based around an acoustic guitar among other unusual instruments. The song also features some backing vocals which are done well. The song doesn't really have a climax as it remains the same tone throughout the song, being one of the weaker ones here. Lounge Fly
and Silvergun Superman
both have the grunge factor present. Both are sung with very deep vocals and heavy, low guitar. Coincidentally, both are very long coming in at over five minutes; however, they don't seem to drag on and on which is good. Army Ants
, which I have already made a reference to, is another track and one of the very fast and heavier songs on the album. Like Unglued, the song has a fast guitar riff and fast drums, but Scott's vocals change tempos as the song goes on. Instrumentally, its one of the best songs on the album as Dean plays a strong solo, while Eric keeps up with the drumming. Kitchenware & Candybars
closes the album on a good note. The song is quite long clocking in at just over eight minutes, though it technically turns into a new song towards the end. A slower, more emotional song, the lyrics that will stick out is the line "Sell me down the river"
that is said many times throughout the song. With about three minutes left, a very...odd sounding song begins. The song is actually quite humorous. It sounds like an old pop song with the use of synthesizers and such. Scott's vocals are also quite different and like the song in general, quite funny. The song is known as "My Second Album", referring to this album, being STP's second. So both of the ending tracks are well done and a good way to end an excellent album.
So overall, Stone Temple Pilot's second album, Purple
is a solid album and a good follow up to their impressive debut. I would recommend it to any fan of grunge or alt rock of the 90s or today. It shows the band's full potential as they mix hard rock, with softer emotional songs. Purple
is a solid rock record from start to finish which makes for an excellent album.
Interstate Love Song