Stone Temple Pilots

Atlantic, 1994


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Core was a paragon of a perfect grunge LP, oozing with machismo at every opportunity. It was crass, boastful and bigoted, but a braggart to be befriended for all its energy and pugnacity. After the loud debut, with the follow-up, Purple, STP reveals a rather different facet of its persona, its mellower alter ego.

Purple is, by all means, a terribly true grunge album. But, beneath all the grime on the surface, it shows that it has a heart that feels. Purple touches with its vehement passion and soothes when it cries. It listens to you, and wants you to do the same with it, and feel the same way as it feels for you.

Purple shows a striking maturity in the band's musicality -- within a span of just one album, STP has grown up, big time. Consistently, throughout the album, vocalist Scott Weiland has tried to put in a lot of honesty and earthiness in his singing, unlike in the case with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Core, where he was big, bad and bold, all over the place, aptly suiting its belligerent feel.

Purple isn't disposed to aggress, not without "Wicked Garden" or "Crackerman," but Core isn't sensitive enough to feel the pangs of pains of love, without "Interstate Love Song" and "Still Remains." If Core was an aggressive grunge album, Purple is a sensitive grunge LP, evident particularly in these two beautiful love songs back-to-back. "Interstate Love Song" is a simple 'goodbye' song, with an amazing riff and an even more amazing intro. "Still Remains" has the most beautifully written words in the album, and is one of the best-sung STP numbers: a haunting chorus, turning tuneless, momentarily, building up immediately to the heavenly succeeding verse.

"Meatplow," "Unglued" and "Army Ants" show signs of the angry Core STP, but with sophistication. The album reaches its summit towards the end with the last song, (or the last couple of songs) "Kitchenware & Candybars." The first of the two-past song starts off as a rather somber and controlled acoustic rock-song, ultimately building up to be as grungy as it could be, driven by a stalking chorus and maddening mixture of guitar and violin strings going berserk. Unlike any other song STP has ever created, the second part of "Kitchenware & Candybars," which STP couldn't name at all, is indeed unique -- all the gruffness of the preceding songs are replaced by soothing mélange of piano, trumpets and strings, with Weiland sounding as if he a dilettante jazz-singer singing in a run-down bar, trying hard to please the oblivious drunks with his witty, silly and funny singing. Alas! No one there is pleased, but we sure are.

For sure, Purple shows great maturity in STP. It is a grunge album, but musically exceeding its confreres. A rock album, which as shamelessly sheds a few tears as shamelessly as it bares its chest-hair, Purple is inspiring. STP has outdone itself.

Rating: A-

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© 2004 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic, and is used for informational purposes only.