Stone Temple Pilots are an underrated band. I'm not talking underrated in that they never saw much success, because clearly they did. I mean simply this was a band straight from the ashes of grunge, and for all the great songs and albums, no one really took them seriously. It's a shame too because at their root they were one of the seminal rock acts of the late 90s. Today we talk about their Top Ten songs. Enjoy!
10. Unglued, Purple
For whatever reason, this was one of those songs I didn’t even realize was written by the band until years later. The track itself though starts with a crunch of a guitar section, and Weiland’s trademark squeal/ howl shows itself pretty early, which only helps to build up the energy in the song. Also well positioned are the different tones used in the instrumentation, which helps to create even more layers that you wouldn’t normally find in many straight ahead rock bands. It's for those reasons that “Unglued” opens up our countdown of the Top Ten Stone Temple Pilots songs.
9. Sour Girl, No. 4
When this song first came out, honestly I wasn't a fan. But the tempo, ambience and mixing all lend a hand in making this a song that’s worth a listen. For a band normally known for rock anthems, they demonstrated here they could make mid tempo, tender hearted tracks. Even beyond that though, the creepy music video featuring Buffy the Vampire Slayer perfectly matched the outside the box notions in the track. It’s easy to sing along to also, which certainly helps with it’s popularity.
8. Big Bang Baby, Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop
After the successes of their first few albums, the band really smashed big with this unorthodox rock album. One of the great aspects of the record is it’s ability to be all the things you loved about the band before, but also adds elements you wouldn’t expect. The track always makes me feel like a mod squad member from decades earlier, but at it’s heart it’s full of just enough pizazz and bang that it fits nicely in the band's catalogue. It’s a rock thumper through and through, and with the help of the DeLeo brothers and Eric Kretz, the full band is able to churn out another solid gold hit that would keep their momentum going,
7. Pruno, No. 4
While many of their albums were regularly played in my life, this was my first taste of being really pleasantly surprised by the group. “Pruno,” has all the intensity of their earlier material, but with this song and the “No. 4” album as a whole the band was able to assert themselves once again as one of the dominant bands in the alternative rock genre. This track whirls and dives and soars again over and over throughout it’s duration, but the real MVP here is Weiland’s vocals. Like any great frontman and vocalist, he’s able to give more nuanced vibes when needed but can just as quickly turn it around into wild, energetic howls. Not a song that gets mentioned much, but certainly one that should be.
6. Sex Type Thing, Core
Among the first record, hit after hit emerged, and among the biggest one’s, this track certainly stands out as memorable. “Sex Type Thing” is a violent reaction to a difficult situation, both in terms of musicality but also lyricism. Weiland is a man possessed here, and with the helping in the drum section, the band is able to rock out in a way that many others during the time simply couldn’t compete with. This track would obviously go on to become a huge hit for the band, and would help them to quickly go from a no name but promising group, but to headlining huge concerts and festivals for many years to come.
5. Crackerman, Core
One of the best and earliest experiences seeing bands came when I saw STP headline Voodoo Fest. I was with my dad, and while we weren’t together during the band’s closing set, we both walked away in awe of the great rock show we just witnessed. Part of that great time was “Crackerman,” which opened the show. The band was all over the stage, and with megaphone in hand, Scott Weiland dominated the crowd. It’s such a great opening track that it’s easy to see how the crowd can get worked into a frenzy fast, but that’s not the only thing that makes this song great. It’s a fast paced, guitar heavy track that pulls you in and won't let you go until enough damage, er, fun has been had.
4. Vasoline, Purple
“Purple” was a giant release for the band, and which songs as tight as this one, it’s not surprising in the least that the record was a hit. “Vasoline,” in at number four on the Top Ten STP songs, has everything that a genuine fan of the band could want. Weiland’s vocals are spot on throughout the nearly three minute song, but there’s more to this song being a success than weiland obviously. The instrumentation and the skill which is brought to the table allows the band to create a beautiful mixture where you can’t make out individual instruments when you need it but also making sure every person in the band is captured in perfect sight and sound.
3. Pretty Penny, Purple
It’s rare that I ever decide to include more than four tracks off the same album, but in this instance I just had to, simply enough. “Pretty Penny” is nestled in among huge hits for the band, but it’s very nearly a perfect track on the album. The change from their usual tempo helps tremendously and really shows the band stretching it’s legs and making some great but out of the ordinary. It’s a relaxing song musically but brings forth some disparaging lyrics to thicken up the plot of the song. Also it’s refreshing to see the band and Weiland specifically toning it down a notch in favor of a track a little more gorgeous and less violent.
2. Big Empty, Purple
From the first time I heard this was in the perfectly constructed “The Crow” soundtrack. It’s truly a magnetic song that fits the themes and atmosphere of the film brilliantly. It also happens to be one of the best songs the foursome ever produced. It has everything you want from a great STP song. Solid guitar rock, drumming that knows when to step back, and of course, heightened yet wearily delivered vocals from Weiland. At number two on the Top Ten STP tracks, “Big Empty,” brings it all together and crafts one of the most popular rock songs of the 90’s
1. Interstate Love Song, Purple
And finally we come to number one. The fifth song to be featured from “Purple,” and also the fourth in a row of solid tracks from said album, “Interstate Love Song” is a song so wonderful and nostalgic that hearing it today brings me joy, even after hundreds of likely listens. The song for me remains a love letter the glory days of the Alternative rock scene, but also a reminder of just how good Stone Temple Pilots were as a unit. The twangy guitar sets the mood, while the bass and drums chase closely behind, the three of them accompanying the rock star of the band to a chorus that’s so easy to sing every should be able to join along in a hurry. It’s not as heavy and flamboyant as other selections on this list, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a quintessential song of the decade, and the band’s best track. Thanks for reading, and sorry for the delay!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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