Today's pick for one of my favorite albums, is the 1992 debut album by Stone Temple Pilots, Core.
Despite coming onto the music scene during the Grunge period, Stone Temple Pilots, or STP for short, aren't really a Grunge band. Guilty by association is more like that, but despite critics and music execs trying to paint STP with the Grunge brush, STP remains a band unto themselves, still going strong through all the ups and downs that accompany the usual path to fortune and fame.
And what a bunch of ups and downs this groups's had.
In a nutshell, most of the band's problems stemmed from lead singer, Scott Weiland's well-documented struggle with drug addiction.
This had led to multiple arrests, rehabs, and ultimately Weiland quitting the band. Thankfully he didn't wind up like so many rock stars of the past, especially a fellow rock peer in Alice In Chains front man Layne Staley, and successfully kicked his drug habit.
He's since rejoined in 2008 after a brief stint fronting Velvet Revolver, and the band looks to be back on track, doing what they do best.
So how did I become aware of this album?
The year was 1997, and I was in the last year of middle school, namely 8th grade. I was talking to a friend of mine at the time, and he had this Walkman with him. He was listening to STP, specifically, Core.
He let me listen, and I was instantly hooked. Even more so after he let me borrow the album. I played that shit nonstop for at least two days straight! I loved it.
Not bad for a five year-old find huh?
Back to how awesome this album is, especially for a debut album no less, I dare you to listen to the beginning track "Dead and Bloated", all the way to "Where the river goes" and not enjoy this entire album.
Not only does this album set up the other ones to come, but it successfully gets the listener acquainted with the sound of the band as a whole, and the vocal style of Weiland.
And trust me, listening to future albums like Purple, Tiny Music....from the Vatican gift shop, and No.4, the band's sound pretty much stays consistent, but that doesn't mean they don't experiment with arrangements and change things up from song to song.
For me, the whole album is filled with this vibrant energy coming from the band and a sense of newness, a freshness of sound and originality that beautifully accompanies other contemporary albums that were out at the same time. That's no easy feat when you consider you that popular bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam were also around and kicking. In fact one could argue these bands, with the exception of Alice in Chains, were in their prime, both commercially and artistically around the same time frame as when this album came out.
That's not even counting the presence of veteran pop/rock acts like Madonna, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Sting, and Michael Jackson on the charts. Hell even rock greats Guns n' Roses were considered established vets by '92.
Going down the list of songs from top to bottom, I personally love them all, but "Dead and Bloated", "Crackerman", "Wicked Garden","Creep", "Plush", and "Where the river goes" are my top favorites.
That and I defy not to listen to the instrumental "No Memory" and not enjoy it.
The whole set-list of songs all seem very influenced by bands like The Doors and Led Zeppelin. A fact backed up by a quote I found on the album's own Wikipedia.org entry, with guitarist Robert DeLeo saying "You know how when you listen to a Led Zeppelin album, you listen to the entire album, not just the odd song? We wanted to make a record like that. We wanted to create a vibe which would run right through the whole album."
Mission accomplished guys.
If you're interested in more info on this album, here's the wiki link that should answer any question you might have:
So for me, STP had their work cut for them to make an impact on the music industry, and I think with this debut album, they did that and more. And trust me, the very fact that this album went multi-platinum proves that.
Do yourself a favor and pick this one up or find it online, and give it a listen. I think you'll like it......
Here's some sample tracks to wet your appetite:
"Where the river goes"
"Dead and Bloated"