As we leave "Army Ants" behind on Purple, it's almost a shock to enter the dark world of "Kitchenware & Candybars." Here we find backstabbing, the distorted crunch of multiple guitars competing with each other to bring their vision of misery to us, and a certain (intentional) loss of control in the vocal department. But we also find the frustration present in every other song on the album.
In fact, the pain is so tangible in Scott Weiland's voice during this song that it literally hurts to listen. Yet one can't shy away from it because it is beautiful, even in its misery. According to Below Empty, Details once wrote of this song, it is "a huge, ecstatically bitter song about betrayal," and that assessment is as on-the-nose as they come. It's huge in the sense that there are sweeping guitar chords, a deeply affecting bassline, and even a (lovely) string arrangement. It's ecstatic in the sense that every member of the band throws himself into the task at hand. And it's bitter in the sense that Weiland can barely contain himself as he spits out lines like "Sell me down the river" and "What we wanted is what we wanted."
There are sonic echoes of this song on "Adhesive," one of the more drug-addled songs on Tiny Music (which, for the record, is really saying something). And so, as the final track on Purple, it points solidly into STP's future while staying true to the work they did earlier on the album and, indeed, things they accomplished on Core. So for me, that's the key to the genius of "Kitchenware & Candybars."
Fun fact: If you let "Kitchenware & Candybars" run past its apparent ending, you'll come to "My Second Album," a kitschy tune provided by Johnny Mathis enthusiast and lounge act Richard Peterson. I guarantee it'll put a smile on your face.
Thanks for tuning in these past two and a half weeks. I hope you've found these posts about Stone Temple Pilots informative and entertaining!
Image via FeelNumb.
PS All of the images from these posts are from the Purple era (1994). Most of them were found at Below Empty, which is by far the best STP fan site out there. Please, please, please visit them if you're looking for any information about STP; chances are, they can tell you what you want to know!