The title is ironic, isn’t it? Because nearly two decades later, these songs are clearly anything but the core of STP’s true—and best—sound.
It’s easy to see why this band was critically reviled as grunge-era Scotty-come-latelys; though distance shows STP’s debut was more Alice in Chains and Soundgarden than Pearl Jam, it does play like a bit of a ripoff. Heard in a vacuum, “Core” remains utterly listenable and appealing on a guttural level—it’s brawny, catchy alt-rock of the best kind (or worst, depending on how you feel about such things). “Crackerman,” “Dead and Bloated,” “Wicked Garden” … these songs still sound good at high volume, where it’s all about the crunchy, sludgy guitars and pounding drums and less about Scott Weiland’s macho posturing.
But time showed this is not what the Stone Temple Pilots were really about. They proved with their next two albums—both excellent—they were more interested in pop music and other more interesting twists and turns than the bland near-butt rock this record led us to believe at the time. They’re definitely more “Plush” than “Sex Type Thing.”
It’s just a shame they still trot so much of this stuff out on tour.
Favorite Track: “Plush”
Least Favorite Track: “Wet My Bed”
OK, That Doesn’t Really Count So Here’s My Actual Least Favorite Track: “Piece of Pie”