Album Review: Stone Temple Pilots – “Purple”

Stone Temple Pilots released their second album, Purple, on June 7, 1994. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, and remained at that position for three weeks; the album has gone on to be certified six times platinum. In 2006, Purple was ranked at number 73 on Guitar World magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitar albums of all time.

Purple opens with “Meatplow,” which features a heavy bassline. Lyrically, it can be a little hard to follow; but from what I’m reading, there are references to the speaker having a girlfriend. Musically, I do like this song, even if I don’t totally follow what it’s about. This is followed by “Vasoline,” which was released as the second single from Purple. This is another song that is vague lyrically, but musically, it really does stand out. The guitar and bass create a rather odd rhythm, but it works.

The next song is “Lounge Fly,” which slows the album down. Lyrically, this one is definitely about a speaker wondering if someone they’re interested in, or their significant other, actually wants their relationship or not. “Interstate Love Song” was released as the third single from Purple, and it’s considered one of the band’s biggest hits. This song features a very memorable guitar riff, and it bears a striking resemblance to Jim Croce’s 1970s hit, “I Got a Name.” This is my favorite song from Purple.

Next is “Still Remains,” which is one of the more pop-sounding songs on the album; however, it wasn’t released as a single. Lyrically, this is one of the easier songs to follow. It’s very obviously a love song. “Pretty Penny” was released as promotional single for Purple in 1995. Lead singer Scott Weiland has said that the song was his last attempt to prove to himself that he wasn’t a drug addict. Musically, it’s an acoustic song that also includes an Indian drum. Personally, I can hear a little bit of a Beatles influence in this song.

This is followed by “Silvergun Superman,” which really picks the intensity of the album back up. Musically, it features a very heavy bassline. Lyrically, this is another song that is rather vague. “Big Empty” was released as a single from the soundtrack to the 1994 film, The Crow, and is also considered to be the first single released from Purple. Musically, the song begins with a slow, soft acoustic verse; then, it explodes into a loud and distorted chorus. “Big Empty” is another song from Purple that I really enjoy.

“Unglued” was released as promotional single for Purple in 1994. It’s a driving song that picks the pace of the album back up. While it’s not necessarily a pop-sounding song, it’s still one of the more commercial-sounding songs on the album. It may have been a minor hit for the band on alternative radio, but you can hear sonically why it was able to become a hit. This is followed by “Army Ants,” which starts out sounding like it has a sitar or something similar, and then explodes into a more standard alternative rock song. It’s another song where, lyrically, it’s not entirely clear what’s meant.

The last listed song on the album is “Kitchenware & Candybars,” which opens with a laid back bassline. After the first verse, the instrumentation picks up, but the song stays downtempo. There is also a hidden track on Purple, which is a lounge song titled “My Second Album,” which is performed by Richard Peterson.

Stone Temple Pilots took some more chances on Purple when compared to the previous album, Core. Overall, I think these chances really work and showed that the band was progressing musically. Also, I think the album flows together rather smoothly from start to the finish, and it’s really no wonder why Purple is considered one of the essential albums from the 1990s alternative music scene. If you enjoy alternative music from the 1990s, then you will probably enjoy listening to Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple.


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