No. 4

Stone Temple Pilots

Atlantic, 1999

http://www.stonetemplepilots.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/27/2004

This is one of the better albums STP released, but it went fairly unnoticed by most.

The comparisons to Pearl Jam and other grunge bands died out with the release of this album in 1999, mostly because grunge and even post-grunge was near death, but also because the hit off this one was the acoustic "Sour Girl." Naturally, most had left this band for dead after the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Tiny Music debacle and Scott Weiland's heroin addiction.

But he got better for a time and the band roared back to life with its most garage rock disc to date. 

Alternating between grunge rockers, pop songs and ballads, this showcases everything STP did right. The one-two punch of "Down" and "Heaven and Hot Rods" show this band has lost no power; in fact, they manage to sound just as aggressive as any rock in 1999 but do not sacrifice melody. Unlike the prior grunge hits, though, these hit hard and fast, a bit like what the Hives and Vines would do a few years later.

"Pruno" and "Church on Tuesday" are both decent pop songs, followed by the trippy, acoustic "Sour Girl" and the thrashing "No Way Out." Fans will notice a more blunt approach to songwriting here -- the experiments of Tiny Music are gone, with more focus on getting in, getting the song done and getting out with no wasted time. It's one of the fastest 40 minutes of the year.

"MC5" is a blast of hard rock fury which is immediately tempered by "Atlanta," probably Weiland's best vocal performance to date. Here, Weiland sounds more like Jim Morrison than anybody has since. It's a beautiful song and a perfect way to close out everything a comeback disc should be.

The only drawback here are the lyrics, but let's face it, anyone who expects good lyrics from Weiland after the last three STP discs is delusional. He avoids referring to his drug problems and stays away from obscurities, but the words are still mostly there to fill the space instead of saying anything truly meaningful. But hey, it's no-bullshit rock, and in the new millennium it's a welcome listen.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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