Every band has their entire life to write their first album. The one after that can be the hardest. You don’t want to repeat what you just did, and you want to grow as a band. The 90’s were a great time for this and one album in particular managed to do just that. Stone Temple Pilots album Purple. This album pushed the band away from the “grungier” sound of their debut Core and brought in more of a southern rock and psychedelic rock feel to the way they wrote. The use of slide guitar throughout the album really adds another dimension to the tone of the guitars. Scott Weiland’s vocals and lyrics stepped up leaps and bounds. First track “Meatplow” is bluesy complimented with a laid back feel. “Vasoline” is a grooving hard rocking song with great melody. It’s also the only song on the album that drummer Eric Kretz got writing credit on. “Lounge Fly” really evokes the psychedelic feel. This is one of my favorite STP songs. “Interstate Love Song” is the one of the bands most popular songs. It also has a great video to accompany it. The southern rock vibe is very present on this song. The vocal melody is one of the best they’ve ever created. “Still Remains” is a great song to follow “Interstate.” It also shows a more vulnerable side of Scott Weiland. “Pretty Penny” takes it down further, stripping it down. “Silvergun Superman” brings the album back up to the rocking side of things. The chorus melody of this song stays with you for a lifetime. The guitar riff is chunky and heavy but mixed in perfectly not to cause a rumble. “Big Empty” which was actually first heard on STP’s MTV Unplugged, utilizes the slide guitar perfectly and the guitar solo, oh my. I still remember this song best from The Crow (RIP Brandon Lee). “Unglued” is another strong rock song that gets your head bopping and it also has a slight tinge to it that can make you dance. ” Army Ants” goes back to that psychedelic sound in the intro then kicks into high rock gear. Closing out the album is “Kitchenware and Candybars” which again strips the band down and puts Weiland back in the vulnerable state which he embraces. The subtle nature of this song has lots of introspective components foreshadowing a bit in to the future of the band.
Brendan O’Brien’s production and mixing on the album is absolutely flawless. the arrangements of the songs and flow of the album have yet to be duplicated by the band. Scott Weiland cemented himself as a great lyricist and singer on this album. Dean De Leo’s guitar work and tone is unrivaled. Take a listen to Slash try to play STP songs, it just doesn’t sound right at all. Robert De Leo is a fantastic bass player and his ability to harmonize with Scott is tremendous. Eric Kretz is a seriously underrated drummer. This also marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Purple. And in the 20 years it sure does hold up.