There have been a few ways to describe Stone Temple Pilots. Surely, they're career really has had some wicked twists in it, especially with rehab and alcohol, but they've also made a good name for themselves in the early nineties as an independant grunge band. Stone Temple Pilots took they're music to heart, and the sound that comes out is something unique; it has the brutality of arena-metal, but also has a softer side, the sort of beauty inside the beast. Naturally, the main sound on they're albums has changed. Core, they're debut, is a hard rocking, cruched and at times very annoying album, but also has some inspiring slow songs, with the strumming of a guitar and the drumming that slowly beats out the rhythm of doom. Of course, both sides can't share the album's main sound, so STP decided to nail out a few rockers and shuffle back the slow, painfully real ballads. This is an unforunate move, but you'll have to suck it up if you want to listen to this album.
This album is, unfortunately, a painfully average album with some great moments. The sound on the album is, as said before, more like a gorilla than anything; relying on brute force to carry the album. As far as "brute force" goes, though, this is it at it's best at times. Anthems like Dead and Bloated
bring the grungey-rock, while others like Wicked Garden
rely on a more melodic stage. Both work, and the result is both listenable and fun to listen to at the same time. Mixing brain with brawns, STP pull off a couple of hard-rock songs with melody, feeling and, most importantly, great performances. They don't sound alike, and they make the album just that much better in terms of diversity. Of course, this doesn't work for all of the songs on the album. Brain-dead rockers such as Naked Sunday
rely on animal sexuality to help carry the song, rather than actually focusing on the music. Completely unnecessary songs like Piece of Pie
don't help make the album better; just longer and more tedious. Of course, this song has nothing more to offer than a simple, mind-numbing hard rock riff and a twangy vocal performance. It doesn't help, but it hurts the album in terms of effectivness and quickness. It doesn't help to issue that alot of the songs on this album sound the same too.
The slower songs are few, but effective. Songs like Creep
give us acoustic warmth and, eventually, a shark-toothed riff that sports a vengeance, and the whole thing is just tucked under Scott's impressive, heart-felt and often ironic ("Everybody run, Bobby's got a gun") vocals. Others like Plush
bring the slow song essentials, like a fierce riff with day-dreamy effects, pounding rhythm sections, and add the force of a more heart-felt grunge song, complete with a wicked touch of the vocals, which add a country twang and a hard-rock vengeance and mix it with a rather focused performance. The "filler" song No Memory
contains a stunning, lone acoustic riff, with a creepy twist, but all the while it doesn't fail to bring a more beautiful element to STP's sound. Of course, it's short, but dammit it's a fun, short and extremely enjoyable listen. All three songs are the only ones that occupy the slower songs on this album, but these three are all we really need to make the album just that much better. Also, it doesn't hurt that these songs have the best lyrics.
is a better hard-rock song. It is definitely more catchy and listenable than the others, and that means something. The opening riff sounds like it wants to tear your head off but shows some restraint, the the drums sound like that Eric is pounding on war drums with logs. As well as the chorus that has a Creep
inspired riff, this song comes together as an enjoyable little ditty that also features an incredible vocal performance, compliments of Scott. It all gets wrapped up with a very fun solo, and then it's off to more bloated, under-played and beer-chug worthy songs that are only extremely enjoyable if you're at a concert and dead drunk. Numbing songs like Crackerman
bring nothing new to the table, and it only sounds like STP are trying to bring back the seventies punk more than anything. Besides the fact that they have the same chord sequence throughout the entire song, and despite the interuption of a talk-boxed-up vocal performance from Scott, and a decent bridge, the song brings nothing but the mind-numbing and intellectually dull hard rock that brings this album down quite a bit. You can't blame them for trying, though.
The album finally comes to a close with the 9:00 ender Where the River Goes
, to which I have mixed opinions of. It's a long song, and that deserves at least a little credit, it has some undeniably great performances, and the occasional solo that can last up to a good 2:00, and the song doesn't seem to progress past the point of "epic finale", which, in essence, is a good thing. It's also a good thing that STP didn't try to make this song any more intellectual or dumb, as the lyrics themselves express a very intellectual side of Scott, while the music takes on the tone of Dead and Bloated
and Wicked Garden
in terms of roughness and edge. This song is well worth 8:25, as I really can't see it as being any shorter, otherwise the brutality of the music would almost be too much. It couldn't have been longer either, because, well, it just makes sense. This is a pretty good way to end the album, though a slower song (at least I think) would've been more suited. A good, rocking song though, if nothing really else.
As with every review, I guess it's time to reach that question: Should you buy this? Well, I suggest you buy this if you like hard-rock melodies, drinking music and, essentially, a few amazing ballad-type songs that can tug at your heartstring (excuse the lame dialogue). I also suggest that if you like STP, that this is a good starting point for you, as it only goes up from here. Otherwise, if you like intellectual music that makes a point, than I suggest you skip this album and move onto something a little less surreal in terms of blunt rock. Otherwise, a good release from a great band, but it could've been better if there were more slower songs.
Scott Weiland: Vocals
Dean DeLeo: Guitars
Robert DeLeo: Bass
Eric Kretz: Drums
Thanks for reading,
Fun Fact: My 40th Review