Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Review: Stone Temple Pilots

Holy shit, there's a new Stone Temple Pilots album?

It's called... Stone Temple Pilots.

Which is odd. I always find it kind of weird when a band eponymously titles an album that isn't their first one. It's especially weird in this case, because it's STP's sixth album (not counting a now obviously premature Best Of), and it's been NINE years since their last one Shangri-La Dee Da (which sucked).

You've got to give Scott Weiland credit though, it's amazing the guy is still alive, let alone in charge of all his faculties. That man LOVED drugs. I guess he was doing alright with that whole Velvet Revolver thing though. Don't really know what happened there. I have to say I didn't follow it, and can tell you very little about it (I think it had Slash in it? Haha. God I'm ignorant!). Anyway, back to the drugs:

I have to say, the first song is pretty terrible. The line, shit, the whole chorus "You always were my favourite drug, even when we used to take drugs, even when we used to take, even when we used to take, even when we used to take [etc]." Is pretty appalling, no matter how self-referential it is for Weiland. From what I've seen on New Zealand TV, this is the song they're using to promote it too. Thank god it picks up from there.

The second track, Take a Load Off, now that is vintage STP at its finest. This track could have been perfectly at home on their previous effort Tiny Music: Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop. It's good. It's got those sprawling vocals and epic guitars that are frankly the only reason you still listen to Stone Temple Pilots when you're not the type to hang out with dudes and fix cars.

Then we get to track three, and I wonder if I might like this album better if I rode a motor cycle.

I have to say though. This tendency to do word play does not impress me. Hickory Dichotomy? Seriously guys. What does that mean? This is why I never listened to Shangri-La Dee Da much. It is not clever! The title of that album was a total stumbling block for me. Even though I got the CD for free from an ex-girlfriend. Now. Please make more tracks like Down, Big Bang Baby and Seven Caged Tigers. That will be all.

And then the next track is called Dare if you Dare[!] And it's... actually, this one is pretty good. Nice one you lot! Cinnamon, also is a decent song, possibly the most pop-rock sounding song on the album, probably the most likely to be a single at some point. Do bands even release singles any more? They do, right?

After this it is straight into Hazy Daze with a kick-ass riff that just gets up and demands your attention like you have just walked into your flat and they are there playing in your living room and instead of getting all angry you just go with it and rock out in the adjacent kitchen but at the same time hope one of the DeLeo brothers doesn't get carried away and smash the end of his guitar into your newly purchased 50 inch television.

The next song, Bagman is similar. You're not getting your lounge back yet!

It occurs to me at this point that, minus a few duds, I actually quite like this CD. It also occurs to me that this review has become more of a commentary of the whole album. ANYWAY, the next track Peacoat is another one of those songs that would have gone quite nicely on Tiny Music...

And then we appropriately have more fast-paced rock with Fast as I Can and all I can think of is that this would make a cool track for Rock Band.

The second-to-last track, First Kiss on Mars is slower paced after that good chunk of fast rock and I'm thinking that the song choices for this album were a lot better than their last album.

The last song, Maver immediately made me go, "Ohh, that's kind of nice," but what kind of a name is Maver? is that some lady? It sounds like something that your grandma might be called. It's a decently constructed song, but I'm just never sure how to interpret songs about ladies' names. I'm all like, who is this lady? Is she a real person? Which member of the band is she associated with? Should I know who she is? And if in fact she isn't real, why sing a song about a make-believe person and give them a name and all that? But that's just an idiosyncrasy I have. But like I said it's actually a really nice song.

So this is the album that Shangri-La Dee Da probably should have been. It almost seems like more of a spiritual follow-up to Tiny Music... than the logical progression from No. 4 which maybe be a good thing, but it does have elements of both of these albums. It brings the rock. It bricks Scott Weiland, umm, wailing. Heh. But it works. Return to form? Maybe. It's certainly renewed my interest in the band. Which is saying something, because I'm usually a bit indifferent about bands I used to listen to in High School.

So where are they going to go from here? Does this eponymous title signify a new chapter in the Stone Temple Pilots machine? Will there be more problems in the band? Or will they go on to kick more ass than they ever have? I don't know, this is just an album review, man.

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