No.1 - Stone Temple Pilots – No.4 – 5/5
Yes, my number one pick of the litter, the album that started it all, it really doesn’t get much better than the band that would spawn a new generation of grunge on the world, that ironically would gain more fame and last longer than the original. Splitting into both the melodic and more aggressive side of the genre, performing it to perfection, this is the point where it all began. Their earlier works showed this to be the direction they were heading, but this is the cherry on the top of their impressive discography, the diamond in the sea of gems, and any other analogy you wish to use.
The drums do more than build a framework, they’re often integral to the sound produced, working with the music in an interesting manner to add to the tone and atmosphere as required of them. The bass frequently takes the duties of rhythm guitar, playing as prominent a part as your likely to find, and adding to that thick grunge atmosphere for the rest of the band to work within. The guitars too, are more than simple chords, ranging from the soft acoustic tracks, to the electric rock-filled groove with more fills and mini-solos than you can shake a stick at. And the vocals, Scott Weiland (perhaps better known now as the vocalist for Velvet Revolver) fits perfectly, cleanly, drawing from personal experiences and adding his personal emotions to every track. From the cynical ‘No way out,’ harsh toned ‘Down’ or even to the simplistic but beautiful ‘Atlanta,’ - and these are some of the weaker tracks present. The variety of tones, high notes, low, desperate emotions, the cynical and amusing, airy or loud and in your face, it all combines to create one of the most diverse sounding albums around.
Even the lyrics seem carefully thought out, being both catchy, honest and even thought provoking, with lines like:
“I used to love you now I don't care
Now I turn around, you're everywhere
So you can chew me up and spit me out
You're just a little bitch I cared about” – Sex and Violence.
This is an album with no weak links. Despite its variety, it succeeds in being hard hitting every time. I first heard it over 5 years ago, and it still gets regular play. This is the best album from the best grunge/post-grunge band around. If you’re unsure if post-grunge is the genre for you, this is the album that will let you know.
Highlights: Heaven and Hot Rods, Sex and Violence, Glide
By T Bawden