Tiny Music: Songs From The Vatican GiftShop
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/03/2004
"Everpure," "sugarboost," "leadbelly": bizarre words, amongst the most bizarre sounding lyrics. Tiny Music… is an album, which had to undergo a lot during its making. Firstly, it is the last STP album before the band split-up, or rather kicked lead singer Scott Weiland out for his excessive indulgence in drugs.
The band's state of mind, and the chemistry during the making of Tiny Music…wasn't the same at all as with the earlier two albums, and it shows. Weiland's groggy state of mind shows in his lyrics. Most of the album's lyrics seem like fragments of hallucinations: unrelated images born out of wild imaginations, put together and creating pictures as dazed, frivolous and light-headed as the words and the state-of-mind that created them.
Tiny Music… is an experimental album of sorts, certainly STP's most experimental album to date. After two hard-core grunge albums, this disc deviates substantially from its predecessors. Leaving its psychedelic lyrics (which were much easier on the listener in the case of the previous two albums) aside, the music on the album itself is radically different from what STP had come up with in its first two albums. Unlike Core and Purple, Tiny Music… is definitely not a grunge album. It is a rock album for sure; it is a mellow rock album by STP standards. The experimentation has created magical results, and Tiny Music… has some of the best songs STP has ever recorded. "And So I Know" and "Adhesive" are a couple of STP's all-time best songs: unconventionally beautiful, revealing a tender side of the band that is as lovable as its more aggressive side.
Tiny Music… has a couple of the best songs STP has ever created, but at the same time, the album is the band's worst -- which is not bad at all by normal standards. The music of the album at a lot of places seems grossly misdirected, spoiling the charm of the genuinely good songs on the album. In addition to the two instrumentals, "Press Play" and "Daisy," which go nowhere at all (nowhere near the brilliant instrumental "No Memory" on Core), the irritatingly inane "Art School Girl" makes one wonder what on earth made the band consider including these songs on the album.
Barring a few songs here and there, a majority of Tiny Music… is pretty good, of course nowhere close to either Core or Purple. Bewilderingly, the lady on the cover has goat's legs, the crocodile in the pool seems interested neither in her, nor in her unusual pair of legs, and despite Tiny Music… having STP's worst songs ever, it also has the best songs STP has ever created.