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Stone Temple Pilots - Stone Temple Pilots Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 7.75
Lyrics 6
Production 8
Creativity 7
Lasting Value 7.75
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 76%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7
Musicianship 6.75
Lyrics 5.75
Production 8
Creativity 6.25
Lasting Value 6.75
Reviewer Tilt 7.25
Average: 68%

Stone Temple Pilots - Stone Temple Pilots

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (05/26/10)
Stone Temple Pilots - Stone Temple Pilots
Record Label: Atlantic
Release Date: May 25, 2010

I can already see it now: a half-century down the road, geriatric versions of Greg Robson and I living out that Rockwellian image of two old men playing checkers, recounting tales of the glory days, perhaps enjoying some iced tea on a hot summer day. After all, as much as I feel like I'm still very much in my prime, even The Boss sang about how fleeting these times are, so undoubtedly the day will come when Greg's Pulitzer and that secret decoder ring I'll find in a Cracker Jack box some day are proudly displayed on our respective mantels and we'll be able to relax, rest on our laurels and complain about "kids these days."

As idyllic as such a scene is, I shudder at the thought of such a future, mainly because I'm pretty bad at checkers, but also because I know how I feel about crotchety old cranks like that now. Still, it's apparent I'm already showing signs of becoming "that guy." When it was announced that '90s rock icons Stone Temple Pilots would be reuniting and (gasp!) recording new music, I sort of began to understand how my dad feels when he finds out about things like Jackson Browne's tour rolling through town. While I might scoff at his enthusiasm, most of the AP fold probably question the relevance in 2010 of a reunion between Scott Weiland and the brothers DeLeo or the relevance of STP period, while I'm babbling like a Belieber.

But to a youngster in the early '90s, exposure to music criticism and open discussion about records wasn't nearly as accessible as it is today, so who can blame me for being influenced by and legitimately liking a band like STP? While everyone I knew along with the eight million other people who bought it were blasting Core, who besides Robert Christgau and his cadre of stuffy music writers cared that they were merely riding on the coattails of Nirvana and Pearl Jam? Certainly not me, but even in light of being a haughty reviewer myself at present, it still doesn't really matter. About the only reason I have to look back on them with any disdain is their partial responsibility for Saving Abel and their ilk.

But of course, the question is, How is the new self-titled album? It's been almost a decade since Shangri-La Dee Da, and it would be fair for anyone, fan or not, to have misgivings about how good fresh material might be. When we last left the band, they were still very much in love with downtuned grunge, but had become pretty adept at filtering flannel-covered angst through The Beatles' powerpop ebullience and Aerosmith's arena-rock glitz. Anyone accusing them of being Pearl Jam knockoffs by "Days of the Week" was clearly hearing something very different that I.

Well, given the knowledge of the members' more recent projects (Weiland fronting Velvet Revolver, the DeLeos working with Filter's Richard Patrick in Army of Anyone), it would be reasonable to expect very little to have changed with the band's sound, and for the most part, that expectation would be met, although there is a definite softening, not unusual for a band of forty-somethings. There are moments where they're unquestionably channeling their younger selves, like "Hazy Daze" and "Fast As I Can". The energy's still there, but there's some real musical dimensions to the album, too. While their past slower songs (e.g. "Sour Girl") sounded mired in the same trappings of their rockers, there's more jangle on Stone Temple Pilots, and it's a welcome sound. Neither "Cinnamon" nor "First Kiss on Mars" light the world on fire lyrically (actually quite the opposite, but these guys were always a little meathead-ish in that department), but they are some of the brightest melodies the band has ever written.

As a vocalist, Weiland is as strong as ever, both when belting out huge choruses like in days of yore on "Between the Lines" and "Take a Load Off" or when rolling out a remarkably competent croon and falsetto on "Dare If You Dare". Though his current record of being clean have made him no longer a favorite choice in office celebrity death pools (not a hope, just a hunch that thankfully never came to fruition), his game clearly hasn't been hurt a bit. Only the Lou Reed or Iggy Pop impersonation he was going for on "Hickory Dichotomy" doesn't really work in his favor.

As a complete work, Stone Temple Pilots is sturdy and probably more surprising for the fact that it was ever made than for its actual contents. It's also a little bittersweet, because unlike some of my favorite albums of this year, it doesn't leave me wanting more from the band. A song like "Maver", as superficially enjoyable as it is, doesn't sound too far from a cover of Poison's "Something to Believe In", and it's suggestive of a band that's either running out of ideas or catering to an audience with well-ingrained tastes, neither of which is conducive to making great records. It sounds fucking awesome to hear them back together on this, but I wouldn't be the least bit heartbroken if they called it quits for good after supporting it. As a fond farewell, Stone Temple Pilots would be a wonderful way to go out.

Track Listing1. Between the Lines (2:50)
2. Take a Load Off (3:11)
3. Huckleberry Crumble (3:10)
4. Hickory Dichotomy (3:22)
5. Dare If You Dare (4:29)
6. Cinnamon (3:33)
7. Hazy Daze (2:59)
8. Bagman (2:45)
9. Peacoat (3:29)
10. Fast As I Can (3:33)
11. First Kiss on Mars (3:03)
12. Maver (4:52)


Preview/Buy the album at Amazon MP3
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 26
11:19 AM on 05/26/10
#2
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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I feel exactly the same way. You painted a vivid picture of exactly how I feel about the band. Grew up with them, and they were arguably the first modern rock band I fell in love with, thanks in part to "Interstate Love Song," which was huge when I was 11 or so. Completely agree with this stellar review.
11:28 AM on 05/26/10
#3
Jeremy Aaron
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I feel exactly the same way. You painted a vivid picture of exactly how I feel about the band. Grew up with them, and they were arguably the first modern rock band I fell in love with, thanks in part to "Interstate Love Song," which was huge when I was 11 or so. Completely agree with this stellar review.
11:30 AM on 05/26/10
#4
TheKeyWork
Robbin' The Hood
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Good review, not the most solid record but it is better than 90% of the garbage out there. Dean and Robert Deleo remain some of the tightest melody makers around. Weiland's lyrics are cringe worthy at points, but his voice sounds as good as ever. Its a solid return, and a definite summer album.
11:35 AM on 05/26/10
#5
sammyboy516
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I love this album.
11:41 AM on 05/26/10
#6
love_american_style
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every album after Purple ruins any future for this band (for me at least)...but I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't a tid bit interested in checking this album out.

after all I started listening to them when I was 12 (1994)
11:43 AM on 05/26/10
#7
zachff
deadformat.net/tradelist/zachff
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Best part of this review was the word "Belieber"
12:12 PM on 05/26/10
#8
gr33ndayfr3ak
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Haha what an awesome review. Can't wait to check this out.
12:43 PM on 05/26/10
#9
Hagysaurus Rex
We yell like hell to the heavens.
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This is an extremely well written review. As someone else who grew up in the 90's when STP was burning up rock radio, I agree with everything you said.

I thought the album itself was...er...surprisingly better than the drug binged trainwreck I thought it would be. Nowhere near a Top 50 AOTY but loads more enjoyable than what I was anticipating.
01:00 PM on 05/26/10
Shatter_Glass
Take Apart Your Head
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I'm loving it, a fun summer driving record.
01:01 PM on 05/26/10
Shatter_Glass
Take Apart Your Head
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This is an extremely well written review. As someone else who grew up in the 90's when STP was burning up rock radio, I agree with everything you said.

I thought the album itself was...er...surprisingly better than the drug binged trainwreck I thought it would be. Nowhere near a Top 50 AOTY but loads more enjoyable than what I was anticipating.

jesus man, how do you enjoy the music that you have if you listen to at least 50 new records a year?! You're not a music reviewer are you???
01:17 PM on 05/26/10
etomicsean
Lannen Fall / Sean - Manager
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didn't read this yet, but i'm incredibly excited to listen to it. especially if it's anything like tiny music...that record is so underrated.
01:23 PM on 05/26/10
IamTheINDUSTRY
glory glory
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this record blew me away. shangri-la-di-da was horrendous, so nearly 10 years later for them to come out with what i consider the most complete record of their career - i am VERY impressed.
01:48 PM on 05/26/10
whiterussian
awake my old dry bones.
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especially if it's anything like tiny music...that record is so underrated.
Hi five. Well said.


I'm not very into this record - it sounds closest to Shangri but without the stuff I liked most about it. At least that was my impression.
I'm still going to have to spin it a few more times.
01:52 PM on 05/26/10
radxbandit
i don't know
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wow where was i? i didn't even know they were putting out a new record. going to have to chekc this out, loved core way back in the day.
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