Stone Temple Pilots definitely offered a lot of variety on their first three albums, playing hard rock, pop/rock, and art-rock, respectively. On this, their obviously titled fourth effort, they perfectly merged all those styles into one heck of a CD.
I loved opener “Down” from the first moment I heard that monster riff, and nothing’s changed in a decade. This, “No Way Out,” and “MC5” are the most notable throwbacks to 1992’s bottom-heavy “Core,” but the sound is reinvigorated rather than rehashed.
The smoother sounds of STP’s second album, “Purple,” are reflected in the aptly titled “Glide,” and the more uptempo “Pruno” evokes the rolling rhythm of “Vasoline.” And then there are the trippier, “Tiny Music”-type songs, like “Sour Girl” (remember that Teletubbies-on-crack video?) and “I Got You,” while “Church on Tuesday” reminds of the clean licks from that album’s outstanding closer, “Seven Caged Tigers.” It is also worth noting Scott Weiland sings this entire disc in the shredded, dirty vocal that was such a shock when first heard on “Tiny Music.”
Of the 11 tracks on “No. 4,” there’s only one I don’t care for: the crooning closer “Atlanta.” Otherwise, this album sounds as good in 2010 as it did in 1999, and makes me wonder why I let it ride the bench for so long. (I think it has something to do with the terrible concert STP put on while touring this album. That and general Velvet Revolver revulsion.)
Favorite Track: “No Way Out”
Least Favorite Track: “Atlanta”