Stone Temple Pilots - Core
"Stone Temple Pilots'" debut album was released on September 29, 1992, and is called "Core".
It is one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, with sales of over 8 million copies. Twice as much as the album "Dirt" by the band "Alice in Chains", which was released on the same day.
So the story of this album begins somewhere in 1986 when singer Scott Weiland met bassist Robert DeLeo. The two immediately join Robert's older brother Dean DeLeo on guitar and drummer Eric Kretz and begin performing at clubs in the Southern California area. In 1990, the band that goes by the name of "Mighty Joe Young" enters the studio and records its first demo. At the same time, the band continues to build its fan base in the California area, which catches the attention of the Atlantic record company which immediately signs them on a recording contract. During the recordings, the band receives a message from their lawyer that there is a blues musician named "Mighty Joe Young" and the band is forced to change its name to "Stone Temple Pilots", inspired by stickers that adorned their rehearsal room environment of the well-known oil company "STP". Among the names raised and matched the above acronyms were "Shirley Temple's Pussy" and "Stereo Temple Pirates".
Hard to believe, but this masterpiece album, recorded in just five weeks and flew straight to the top of the charts, is an album that has created a severe dissonance between fans and critics, most of whom "killed" it when it came out with words like "theft", "copying", "lack of identity". Compared to the bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana.
At the same time, from the 20s plus years of the album age, it can be said with certainty that the Southern band's album from San Diego, deserves all the existing superlatives, "by right and not by grace" and that it does not fall short of the other masterpiece albums of the four major Seattle bands.
The first song recorded for the album is actually the short track "Wet My Bed" which was born from an improvisation by Scott and Robert when they were alone in the studio. At the end of the track, you can hear producer Brendan O'Brien enter the studio and say "All right, now what ?". By the way, Brendan is a super producer who has worked with bands such as AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus, Korn, Mastodon, Pantera, and more.
After "Wet My Bed" everything was already flowing and the album was recorded in less than five weeks, as mentioned. The opening track "Dead & Bloated" opens with a kind of rough acapella and immediately after that comes Dean's heavy and dirty riff which sets the tone for the sound we will encounter later in the album. The song apparently talks about infidelity in a relationship, although Scott did not confirm it. An interesting statistic about the song, when the band was on a tour with "Linkin Park" in 2001, Chester Bennington would take the stage and perform that song with them. Chester would later take Scott's place only for a short time after the latter was fired from the band in 2013.
From there we continue to “Sex Type Thing” which explodes on us like a volcano with Dean’s immortal and sweeping reef. Here is the place to note that Dean is the only guitarist in the band and he does an amazing job. Anyone who listens to the album and the thick and full sound is sure to have at least two guitarists here. By the way, this sound also goes well on stage, as we witnessed with our own eyes at the band's performance in Israel in 2019. Dean is without a doubt one of the great guitarists of the 90s, although in our opinion he is underrated. This is the first single the band released from the album and it was written about a girl Scott went out with and who was raped by three members of the high school football team she attended. Scott claimed the song was a screaming statement against rape.
The song "Wicked Garden" is a song that was not released as a single from the album, however, it is one of the favorite songs by the band's fans. The lyrics were written by Scott about the ups and downs in life, including those that come as a result of drug use.
The charming ballad "Creep" is a melodic and melancholy grunge ballad that is simply a classic! The music for the song was written by Robert, who noted that he was influenced by the song "Heart Of Gold" by Neil Young. In terms of lyrics, Scott who co-wrote the lyrics with Robert noted that he talks about the apathy of a teenage boy and the sense of non-belonging at that age. By the way, in 2001 a performance version of the song was released in collaboration with Aaron Lewis from the band "Staind". Also, this song was included in the soundtrack of the film "Black Hawk Down".
The song "Plush" is probably the musical stamp of this band and is probably the band's biggest hit. A mesmerizing song with a very special and interesting chord structure that was influenced by a story about a young woman from San Diego who disappeared and was later found lifeless. Both the acoustic version and the album version are "devastating" equally, as if the band deliberately equipped us with two versions, one for each time or mood.
And it is impossible to end the review without a word on the song that seals the album "Where The River Goes". It's the band's longest song in its entire career which spans 8:26 minutes, definitely not typical of the genre and period. It is interesting to note that the band wrote the riff of the song the first time they met and jammed with Dean who replaced the band's first guitarist Corey Hickok. Dean the older brother by 5 years from Robert played hard to get and did not initially respond to requests from his brother and the other members to join the band. Then when he had already arrived, the magic happened and already in the first meeting, this song was written. Scott recalled that he was simply overwhelmed by Dean's playing and immediately wrote the lyrics to the song based on his feelings and the decision to flow like the river where life had taken him.
Undoubtedly, this is an amazing album, and proved beyond any doubt that this band has a lot more to give later, as it did on other albums during the 90s.
Listen to the album on: Spotify, Apple Music