Thursday, June 03, 2010

CD of the Day: ‘Purple,’ Stone Temple Pilots (1994)

I’m not a musical engineer, so I don’t know how to describe this quite right. But when you compare STP’s second album to their debut, “Core,” these songs just sound … lighter. They still rock pretty hard throughout, but there isn’t nearly as much of the Alice in Chains-dirge to them as the last record. That change makes “Purple” more pop/rock than hard rock, and that, in turn, makes all the difference in the world because “Purple” was one of the best records of the 1990s.

The band starts with a look back: “Meatplow” would’ve fit in on “Core,” though again, there’s a bit more air in there this time around. But starting with the second track, the iconic “Vasoline,” “Purple” takes off and doesn’t turn around anymore.

“Lounge Fly” is trippy and tribal, and hints at some of the psychedelic work the band would fully embrace next time out; “Interstate Love Song” is a pop/rock masterpiece; “Pretty Penny” makes for a nice acoustic breath of fresh air in the middle of the album; “Silvergun Superman” ebbs and flows wonderfully; “Big Empty” got a big boost from its involvement with “The Crow,” but it remains a cool, dirty change-of-pace rocker; “Unglued” is as fiery as “Crackerman” without being all dumb-frat-rock about it; “Army Ants” starts with that nice false-intro swirling guitar part before exploding into another sturdy effort; and “Kitchenware & Candybars” is a more honest, pure version of the schmaltzy “Creep” from the last record.

Did I forget one? No. “Still Remains” in the fifth slot is the only track on “Purple” I absolutely do not like. Otherwise, this album’s a beast, and established STP as a band apart from their grungier brethren.

Grade: A-

Favorite Track: “Unglued”

Least Favorite Track: “Still Remains”

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