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Album Review: "Purple" by Stone Temple Pilots - A Defining Moment in '90s Rock

Updated: Jan 3

Purple Album Cover-Stone Temple Pilots

On this day in 1994, Stone Temple Pilots unleashed their sophomore masterpiece, "Purple." As we celebrate its 29th anniversary, it's impossible not to be captivated by the album's timeless blend of rock, grunge, and raw emotion. "Purple" represents not just an era in music but an enduring legacy that still resonates with fans today.

Following the success of their debut album "Core," Stone Temple Pilots were under immense pressure to deliver a follow-up that could live up to the hype. "Purple" did more than that; it showcased the band's dynamic evolution. The album's sound and feel is established with the opening track "Meatplow", even though this track is underwhelming compared to the rest of the album.

On their sophomore album, I feel the band was seeking to separate themselves from their grunge peers (Nirvana, Alice in Chains) as comparisons were already being made. I love Purple because of its musical versatility and variety, but all the while the album maintains a sense of cohesion and choice of style.

Scott Weiland's charismatic and enigmatic presence as the frontman cannot be overstated. His vocal range is on full display throughout the album, from the raw intensity of "Unglued" to the soulful delivery of "Big Empty." Weiland's lyrics, often cryptic and introspective, add depth and intrigue to each track. All the while dancing around with his weird octopus dance on stage.

Standout Tracks:

  1. "Vasoline" - The album opener grabs you by the collar with its unforgettable riff and infectious chorus. This song resonates with me now just as much as it did in 1994. The search for something better and feeling stuck like flies in vaseline.

  2. "Interstate Love Song" - A radio-friendly gem that combines melody and rock edge with perfection. The guitar on this track really shines, and is both catchy and creative use of bending.

  3. "Big Empty" - An acoustic-driven ballad that showcases Weiland's vulnerability and songwriting finesse. Such secrecy and nuance in the lyrics means this song can be about anything and nothing, and Weiland's delivery is amazing.

  4. "Kitchenware and Candybars" - A soft shy start which creeps into a powerful washing chorus's that leave the listener feeling swept down a river of unique and complex chords as only guitarist Dean DeLeo can orchestrate. And for the patient listener, there is a hilarious secret track.

"Purple" explores themes of inner struggle, addiction, and self-reflection. Weiland's lyrics often read like a personal journal, inviting listeners to delve into their own emotions. The album's lyrical depth adds layers of meaning to the music, making it more than just a sonic experience. Scott Weiland is still very much missed by fans, and by me personally since his death in December 2015 from a drug overdose.

"Purple" went on to become a commercial and critical success, solidifying Stone Temple Pilots' status as one of the defining bands of the '90s alternative rock scene. Its influence can still be heard in modern rock music, and it continues to inspire new generations of musicians.

As "Purple" celebrates its 29th anniversary, it remains a testament to Stone Temple Pilots' artistry and enduring relevance. This album is more than a collection of songs; it's a sonic journey through the complexities of the human experience. "Purple" is a defining moment in '90s Rock, and a timeless classic that has earned its place in the annals of rock history. It continues to captivate and resonate with listeners, reminding us why it's a cherished gem in the world of alternative rock.

Here is a link to the full album Purple below:

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