Sixteen Stone



by Disco Donkey USER (15 Reviews)
October 28th, 2006 | 132 replies

Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If you don't like the president, the beer, or the plant, you should at least be able to enjoy the band.

As the husband of one of music’s most annoying punk rocker-turned-pop stars, it’s hard to imagine Gavin Rossdale as having anything but a horrendous taste in music. Not so. There was a time long ago in the decade of grease and grunge that the lead singer of Bush could rock out with or without his [expletive] out. Listening to his band’s debut album, Sixteen Stone, may help expel the chanting/spell-a-long of “B-A-N-A-N-A-S!” just long enough to forgive Gavin’s marital status. Now, love life aside, let’s continue…

As most people should know, Bush came along during the flannel explosion known as the grunge movement with the likes of Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and of course, Nirvana. Unlike them, though, these guys were British. So they had that going for them. But all in all, they were considered just another grunge band. Why? They didn’t texture or layer their songs, they didn’t use synthesizers, and they distorted their guitars until it sounded like Satan had chosen to speak to the people on Earth using guitar strings. What most critics of this period chose not to mention was that Bush was mostly about melody. True, they played their songs raw, but they never once left out a hook or a catchy chorus. That is what separated them from their peers.

The biggest complaint that I hear from people when defending this band is that “their lyrics are ridiculous and don’t make any sense.” Now I’m not going to say that Bush’s lyrics aren’t a bit abstract at times, but if you look beneath the surface, you’ll find some very intelligent musings that may not form a coherent story, but do provide some strong mental images.

Take a song like “Swim,” which is loaded with quips that give me a grin as well as something to ponder. It’s really tough not to admire Gavin’s cleverness when he sings “house is on fire/ we’re naked again/ maybe all we need / is water and friends.” And you really have to appreciate a song like “Testosterone” that is so full of deprecation towards his own gender that it hurts anyone with a penis to hear it. Want a standout line? Okay, how about “I’m real straight/ wanna see my pecca [pause] dilloes?” Nothing like a guy verbally abusing his own manhood for everyone with a radio to hear.

But not all of Sixteen Stone’s prowess is contained in its lyrical content. There are riffs aplenty delivered with the speed of a roadrunner and without room for excess. Right from the opening riff of “Everything Zen,” you’re lured into this subliminal harshness that holds you tight throughout most of the album. The rapid fire delivery of “Machinhead;” the consistently thunderous squeals that come from the guitars on “Monkey;” the punk rock rampancy that rushes to the climax of “X-Girlfriend;” these all have one thing in common: they rock your face off without so much as an apologetic note.

On the other hand, Bush isn’t just about kicking you in the balls all of the time. Every once in awhile, they do come in with an ice pack to take the swelling down. Much appreciated cubes like “Glycerine” and “Alien” are the perfect opposition to the racecar riffs that are delivered by the rest of the album. The former is the ballad that helped make Bush famous, due in large part to its simplicity. At no other time on this record does Gavin sound so sincere and vulnerable. It doesn’t feel like he’s talking at his listeners, it sounds like he’s talking *to* them. Meanwhile, “Alien” provides perhaps the most delicate sound of anything Bush has put on a record since. The hushed sounds of the guitars give a great backing to the near-tremble of Gavin’s voice.

And of course, I can’t leave out the classic. If there is a song that anyone without this CD will remember, it will have to be “Comedown.” It’s the true highlight of this album (which is really saying something, considering how much I love the rest of the songs). More than anything else, “Comedown” succeeds at showing a certain type of sentiment that anyone with vivid memories of a fast lifestyle can relate to: "I don't wanna come back down from this cloud/ it's taken me all this time to find out what I need." I, myself, have just started college this past week. I just listened to this song the other day, and it immediately brought back memories of this past summer. Living life to the fullest; being at what you think is the apex of your existence. That’s what this song is about.

To a certain extent, I think that’s what this whole album is about. No matter what anyone, including the band, says, this was the apex of Bush’s career. It was them before they started developing a protective skin and testing the waters of techno and industrial sounds. This album is pure rock. And for my money, I don’t think any other album of the decade can compare

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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Door Mouse
October 28th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It wans't a bad review but really 9/10 of the review was about the lyrics. Im not gonna neg it nor pos it. As for the album, I love these guys and this is a great album.

October 28th 2006


Nice review, but all I've heard from these guys is Machinehead.

The Door Mouse
October 28th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Surley you've heard Glycerine and Little Things. The are very popular. Also I forgot to say it before. I dont think that they came in at the flannel explosion they came a little bit after that.This Message Edited On 10.28.06

October 28th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

This is hardly a classic...but this is a good damn cd. It really brings me back to my younger age wen i was but a wee lil rotting corpse. I like Machinehead and ComeDown. Nice review.This Message Edited On 10.28.06

Two-Headed Boy
October 28th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

I don't listen to this anymore, mainly because it fails to seize any interest in me whatsoever.

October 28th 2006


Bush has never been anything but a ripoff grunge act who make really boring inconsequential second-tier Nevermind worship songs
Also, Gavin writes lyrics that are so bad they're almost on the same level as Beck (read: horrid)

The Door Mouse
October 28th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

^^^^ that was the most oppinionated slander ever.

October 28th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

The singles on this album are great, but the rest of this album is very disappointing. "Testosterone" might have the worst lyrics ever.

October 28th 2006


Slander implies that I'm lying, which I'm not
Also, if you're on a review site and don't expect people to be opinionated, you should probably reconsider why you're here

Storm In A Teacup
October 28th 2006


Bush had a knack for writing a catchy song here and there, but those were always ruined by the fact the band is dreadfully repetitive and didn't know when to end the song (i.e. 30 seconds after it started).
And those lyrics shown in the review are indeed horrible.

Disco Donkey
November 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

To those of you who don't think the lyrics are any good: why? Is it because Gavin doesn't spend an unnecessary amount of time lingering in lost love, death, or many of the other common themes eminent in most of today's ridiculous "songwriters"? Or do you have more valid reasons?

The Sludge
November 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Indeed, lyrics are iffy. Glycerine though has gotta be one of the better ballads of the '90's.

I used to love this album way back in the day, but really just seems to run into eachother. Razorblade Suitcase was abit better.

November 25th 2006


Glycerine is the shit. However, I haven't listened to the rest of the album in a while. And there's probably a reason for that...

April 6th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

Glycerine is really mediocre. Everything Zen is the only great song on this album IMO.

September 13th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Probably one of my favorite rock albums of the 90's. They went downhill FAST after this, but Sixteen Stone is solid.

Definately not grunge. Not even close. Cant anything just be rock any more?This Message Edited On 09.13.07

October 8th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

I love Gavin Rossdale's voice.

Digging: Nile - Black Seeds of Vengeance

October 8th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

^you would

October 8th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

this is alright.

October 8th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0


Digging: Great Grandpa - Four of Arrows

October 19th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Jammed this last night for the nostalgia, one of the best post grunge albums

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