Following up on our grunge appreciation month after last week's review of Soundgarden's Superunknown, we're continuing to celebrate grunge's legends with Stone Temple Pilots' late Scott Weiland.
Following up a debut is always a big challenge, but some bands manage to do it with flying colors. Such can be said of Stone Temple Pilots, whose debut record Core set a huge precedent for all of grunge music, but the band managed to deliver something strong despite the pressure. Stone Temple Pilots' Purple was a strong follow up to their debut, providing a fresh sound without sacrificing their niche.
The most powerful thing about Stone Temple Pilots has always been the vocals, so it's only natural that Purple has a strong focus on them. Weiland's voice had an iconic timbre to it, and the same voice that made 'Sex Type Thing' and 'Dead and Bloated' so memorable is the same voice that brings the record to a confident start above the riffs of 'Meatplow.' His anthemic presence is forwarded on 'Still Remains' as Weiland roars above the powerful chords.
Purple, in many ways, is another strong grunge effort in the vein of Core. The riffs roar in 'Vasoline,' their thick presence and firm drive having a big presence early on in the record. 'Silvergun Superman' brings the roaring guitars to another level, their huge, bassy tone rolling with anger and groove - as is necessary with any heavier Stone Temple Pilots song. Later on the record comes fast-paced ''Unglued'' with its electrifying guitar solo and off-kilter delivery, proving the band's edge still existed.
Purple isn't just a continuation of a previous precedent, however; it's a changing beast. There are many risks and interesting moments captured on the record - 'Lounge Fly' is the first real indicator. It's reversed sample intro and demanding drums and guitar lead the track into a rolling rocker before the bridge comes in and builds up from an acoustic guitar back into an eclectic track. The anthemic 'Interstate Love Song' has a much more alternative presence (this song stood out as a starring track in the developing alternative rock scene), bringing the band into a newer and more approachable sound. Softer tracks like 'Pretty Penny' showed off the band's more retrospective side in the same way 'Plush' did on Core, giving a brief pause in the energy for a moment of reflection.
Stone Temple Pilots' Purple was a strong follow up to Core and showed that the band weren't just a flash in the pan; they were here to stay. As unfortunate as Scott Weiland's final years were, he left behind a fruitful discography for fans to enjoy for years to come, and his voice is cemented in rock history.
Favorite Tracks: Lounge Fly, Interstate Love Song, Army Ants
Least Favorite Track: Kitchenware & Candybars
Rating: 89 / 100
Buy or listen to Purple on Apple Music or Amazon: