Jul 27, 2010

Stone Temple Pilots STA Review

image from Amazon

Artist: Stone Temple Pilots
Album: Stone Temple Pilots
Release Date: May 21, 2010
Tracks: 12
Runtime: 41:16

Track Rundown:
(All ratings out of 5 *'s)

1) “Between The Lines” – I pumped myself up before listening to this album by listening to Stone Temple Pilots’ biggest hits of the past, and lead singer Scott Wieland’s voice sounds so different and more high pitched in this song that it’s kind of disappointing. The lyrics and music itself is pretty cool, but the vocal delivery feels on the fence of Bono of U2. The song is nothing revolutionary to be blunt. Great compared to a lot of rock that’s out there now, but if there was any actually good rock out there right now, this would be a pretty poor first single. In context, a generous 4 *’s out of 5.

2) “Take A Load Off” – The second single of the album, and one I like a lot more than the first. It dances more with their older work but also flirts with what the rock genre could become. If STP or Atlantic Records get lucky, this song will reach the next Rock Band/Guitar Hero, because I can see it exploding thereafter. A well deserved 5 *’s out of 5.

3) “Huckleberry Crumble” – The opening to this song reminds me of a heavy metal song inspired by Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” but you know what? I love that song, so I totally love this one. It moves away from Twain’s billboard hit if you’re not a fan of that though and just goes crazy with awesomeness. If you like the kind of concert where the guitarist and singer are all over the stage, going from corner to corner, pumping up the crowd with their energy, this is a great song for it. I’m sold on the next local concert from these guys just off the strength of this song. 5 *’s out of 5.

4) “Hickory Dichotomy” – I bursted out laughing when this song first came on because the verses sound like the B-52’s going Punk Rock. It’s just a fun, fun song and makes me think these guys have a sense of humor, not getting too serious and uptight about their music. And that’s a beautiful thing. Bands having fun = listeners having fun. 5 *’s out of 5, though probably won’t make it to radio due to its sound not exactly feeling mainstream.

5) “Dare If You Dare” – A very old school, doo-wop rock song that goes back to my comment about the band not taking their music needlessly seriously and just wanting to have fun. This is also another song that is really cool, but I can’t see it reaching radio due to not feeling mainstream. Granted, sometimes the mainstream bends in accordance to overwhelming awesomeness, but I’d still be surprised to hear on the drive to work. 4 ½ *’s out of 5.

6) “Cinnamon” – If you saw this track title being used by any other band, you would probably think it’s a cheesy, bubbly pop song. But surprisingly, that is exactly what this is by Stone Temple Pilots! It’s not a bad pop song and I’d enjoy it if I heard it on a movie soundtrack, especially if it’s a nerdy teen romantic comedy. But it’s not really what I wanted from Stone Temple Pilots so it’s a hard song to judge. I’ll say 3 *’s out of 5, but know that it’s a harsh 3 *’s only from the context. You may very well fall in love with this track, or you may find it skippable whenever it plays from the album.

7) “Hazy Daze” – WHY!? WHY WASN’T THIS THE FIRST SINGLE OF THE ALBUM!? This is classic 90’s awesomeness. It’d practically a Faith No More track. This is my dream track. 5 *’s out of 5 *’s, but only because I can’t in good conscience rate it any higher.

8) “Bagman” – A very 60’s/70’s vibe to it, but they laid it on a little thick. The song format still seems overdone from when it was originally popular. Really, the weakest track of the album. 2 *’s out of 5.

9) “Peacoat” – Not a terrible song, but ‘skippable’ by my standards. Kind of generic, nothing groundbreaking. A modest 2 1/2 *’s out of 5.

10) “Fast As I Can” – Overcoming the speed-bumps that were the previous two tracks, the album starts to pick up speed again (pun intended!). A pretty rocking track, though nothing compared to the real hits of this album. A pretty decent 3 ½ *’s out of 5, suitable for driving music and maybe soundtracks.

11) “First Kiss On Mars” – Whereas Bagman laid on the nostalgia too thick, this one is just fantastically nostalgic. It’s hardly what you’d expect from Stone Temple Pilots but the lyrics are a dead given away.

“Can we really find
Love, the magic place we dream of
Super magic robots set the
Solar system free

Reel over, reel over and over”

Come on, only Stone Temple Pilots could come up with crazy lyrics like that. I’ll give it 5 *’s out of 5, even if it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, because it’s certainly mine.

12) “Maver” – Apparently about a girl named Maver with a bonnet. Man, what an ugly name! Reminds me of Nick’s multi-hour rants about parents of today’s generation trying to be creative with the names they come up with for their kids so they’ll be unique, but failing hard. It’s not a bad song though. Another unexpected sound, this time kind of soft arena rock, wave-your-lighter-in-the-air kind of stuff. A respectable 3 *’s out of 5 to close out, though might be a favorite of yours if you’re a huge fan of Train or Buckcherry.

My Highlights:
“Take A Load Off”, “Huckleberry Crumble”, “Hickory Dichotomy”, “Hazy Daze”, and “First Kiss On Mars”. If you’ve heard the first, or maybe first and second single of this album and you were not impressed, give some of these tracks a listen first before dismiss the album. It feels like there’s something in My Highlights for everyone! Youtube it! Last.fm it! Find a means to check out these tracks.

Overall Rating:
Averaging the scores for each track, this album’s overall rating comes to 4 *’s out of 5. With my overall, big-picture, brownie point powers that factor in hit-to-miss ratio, run-time of album, and in this occasion: that there’s a deluxe edition of this album with an additional four songs, I’m going to add a big ½ *. That makes the final score for this album 4 ½ *’s out of 5, or 9 *’s out of 10! No album will be perfect, but WOW! This one is pretty close! I’m pretty much going to spend the rest of my nights crying myself to sleep thinking about the wasted months I spent wishing there was some good music left out there lately. So I HIGHLY recommend this album to anyone, everyone, and you too.

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