Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Purple: An Introduction (From the Archives)

In late 2011, I wrote a twelve-post series for my first blog, What We Covet, called "In Defense of Stone Temple Pilots." Because April and May are incredibly busy for me, I'll be republishing them here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

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In Defense of Stone Temple Pilots
Or, Why Purple Is One of the Greatest Albums of All Time

Critics hate Stone Temple Pilots.

It's true. Chuck Klosterman once wrote of a band called the Bravery, "Like Stone Temple Pilots [...] before them, the Bravery serve as cultural shorthand: If someone wants to take a stand against inauthentic, unoriginal rock'n'roll, they can simply say, 'I hate the Bravery.'" Rolling Stone and Spin seem to agree, on an institutional level--neither Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" (published in 2003), that magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" (published in 2011), nor Spin's "100 Greatest Albums 1985-Now" (published in 2005) include any of STP's work. And while I understand that such lists may be highly political, subjective, or slaves to the whims of those who compile such lists, there is a very big part of me that refuses to believe that a prolific, talented band such as STP hasn't produced any material worthy of charting in any of these scenarios.

I'm not saying that they're the best band ever; that's definitely the Beatles, no contest. But I feel confident in asserting that STP certainly is not the worst, either (I am looking in your direction, Blink-182). And I'm going to use their second studio album, Purple, to prove it to you.

Front cover artwork for Purple.

A few items of business before we launch into an in-depth review of the album:

1) I am not qualified to judge the actual musical quality of any of these songs. I only have my instincts to guide me, but I feel that they are good ones.

2) Personally, my favorite STP album is No. 4. I do, however, realize that Purple may just be a better album (either way, I stand behind all of their albums, even--dare I say it?--their most recent); this is why I'm campaigning for the inclusion of Purple on "Greatests" lists.

3) As much as it amuses me, "My Second Album" is not a legitimate part of Purple (it's not even a Stone Temple Pilots song), so I won't review it here.

4) Any lyrics cited in posts will be a combination of the printed lyrics in Purple's liner notes--which are sometimes either incomplete or slightly inaccurate--and what one actually hears on the album.

5) So we're all on the same page, you'll find a list of tracks/writing credits and band personnel below. Information here is based on the album's liner notes.

Tracks (Writing Credits)
1) "Meatplow" (D. DeLeo, R. DeLeo)
2) "Vasoline" (D. DeLeo, R. DeLeo, E. Kretz. S. Weiland)
3) "Lounge Fly" (R. DeLeo)
4) "Interstate Love Song" (R. DeLeo)
5) "Still Remains" (D. DeLeo, R. DeLeo)
6) "Pretty Penny" (D. DeLeo)
7) "Silvergun Superman" (D. DeLeo, R. DeLeo)
8) "Big Empty" (D. DeLeo)
9) "'Unglued'" (R. DeLeo, S. Weiland)
10) "Army Ants" (D. DeLeo)
11) "Kitchenware & Candybars" (R. DeLeo)

All lyrics by S. Weiland

Scott Weiland, vocals, guitar ("Silvergun Superman), and percussion ("Pretty Penny")
Dean DeLeo, electric and acoustic guitar, percussion ("Pretty Penny"), and drum solo ("Silvergun Superman")
Robert DeLeo, bass, guitar ("Vasoline," "Lounge Fly," "Pretty Penny," "Silvergun Superman," and "Kitchenware & Candybars"), and percussion ("Pretty Penny")
Eric Kretz, drums and percussion ("Vasoline," "Lounge Fly," "Pretty Penny," and "Big Empty")
Brendan O'Brien, producer, percussion ("Meatplow," "Interstate Love Song," "Silvergun Superman," "'Unglued,'" and "Kitchenware & Candybars"), guitar ("Kitchenware & Candybars"), and mellotron ("Army Ants")
Paul Leary, guitar (end solo on "Lounge Fly")

So if you're at all interested in hearing what I have to say about each of these songs, please come back tomorrow to read the first installment--an analysis of "Meatplow"--and ten more days after that for my thoughts on the other tracks.

Image via Fotolog.


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