To be honest, I thought I was listening to a dud when I first popped in the new Stone Temple Pilots, their first record in nine years — and the first one I’ve picked up since 1996’s Tiny Music .. Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop.
A lot can happen in 14 years, and I’m sad to report that there is no powerhouse well-written single like “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart” or “Vaseline” on the new record.
There’s a lot of what you’d expect, though — some crunchy, roarin’ rock songs from two brothers and a recovering rock star.
The disc opens with “Between the Lines,” with Scott Weiland belting:
“I like it when you talk about love
You always were my favorite drug.
Even when we used to take drugs.”
I bet you’ll be hearing a few of the more infectious cuts off this record on your mainstream radio, including the first single “Between the Lines.” The video of which, found on their website, features what you’d expect of the band made famous by MTV: An attractive model who keeps putting on her clothes and an aging Weiland withering and waltzing to the music.
Other radio-worthy gems: “Hickory Dichotomy,” “Cinnamon,” and “Maver,” the last of which closes out the disc and is a song that has it all — including ponies and pendejos — and the ever-important question, “How many nights did you make it without it?”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a STP record if there weren’t some pretty ridiculous songs thrown in the mix. For instance, “Dare if you Dare” must be one of the lamest songs I’ve ever heard. Ever. I won’t even dignify “Bag Man” with my criticism, let’s just pretend that track was never pressed.
All in all, I’m glad the band that got me through junior high alive and emotionally accessible is back at it again. It’s good to hear old friends again, even if on “First Kiss on Mars” someone sounds a little too much like Bowie, in a stab at a radio-friendly summer love song complete with “super magic robots” and a free “solar system.”
If the album were to hinge on one thought, it’d be a line from the second track “Take a Load Off,” an otherwise boring song: “Could our shattered past just set us free?”
Here’s hoping that Weiland stays in the studio and out of the jailhouse.
Buy the deluxe edition. The live material and the added cut “Samba Nova” is worth the extra scratch.
Like in “12 Gracious Melodies” on Purple Weiland takes the opportunity to croon on the bonus track:
“You can always buy a new lie
When yours is finally over
Either way you’ll find a new life
When yours is finally over.”