You have the Big Four in Metal…Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth. In Grunge, the Big Four were Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. At the time, the only one I liked was Stone Temple Pilots. They were the closest to the old Rock & Roll that I grew up with. The others were too foreign to me to like. However, I do like Soundgarden now and Pearl Jam I can tolerate…Nirvana still sucks (I still don’t get the hype for them but that is another story for another time).
Today, we are focusing on Stone Temple Pilots and how their albums rank from my least favorite to the very best one. Despite all the troubles with the band and lead singer Scott Weiland, they were able to capture a magic that set them apart from most other bands. Hell, Scott was probably one of the best frontmen to come out of that era or any era for that matter. His stage presence and charisma were unparalleled and he could command a crowd. After his passing, a couple other singers came on board including the late Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) and now current lead singer Jeff Gutt.
And let’s not forget the band…Robert DeLeo (bass), Dean DeLeo (guitar) and Eric Kretz (Drums). Musically, they are the driving force behind the band. They are the constant. They are why I still listen to this band no matter who fronts. Their playing is excpetional and Dean’s guitar is freaking awesome. Some of the best riffs you will hear!
Enough chit chat, let’s get to the reason we are here. Here are the Stone Temple Pilots albums I rank from Worst to First!!
THE WORST – SHANGRI-LA-DEE-DA (2001):
Now, I don’t know if this should be called “The Worst” or just “My Least Favorite”, but either way it gets the least amount of listens from me. Yes, the songs all had a similar sonic/sound to them that fit the album, I couldn’t get into it though. It felt too disconjointed. It was all over the place for me stylistically. And when “Days of the Week” is the single that tells me that it is just that…Weak!
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a couple killer songs on this album. “Coma” being my absolute favorite from this one. The song is heavy and one nasty-ass groove. And don’t forget the opener, “Dumb Love” which was almost as incredible as “Coma. The problem was that these songs were too few and far between. The rest left me hollow and empty.
#7 – HIGH RISE (With Chester Bennington) (2013):
I understand this is an E.P. and not a full album, but I don’t care. I thought this was a great little album. I would have loved to see where this could have gone, but Chester was torn in too many directions with Family and Linkin Park. He had to make a choice and unfortunately for STP fans, that choice didn’t not include them.
The whole set wasn’t perfect and that is why it is down so far. It had its moments though with opener “Out of Time” which had that STP sound & feel and that great Chester vocals. “Black Heart” was another favorite. He had is own sound, but you can tell he can handle Scott’s songs without being an imitator. The only problem is the whole thing wasn’t consistent and fully as strong as it needed to be. It was a great insight in to what they could do without Scott and now we will never get to see what it could have become.
#6 – STONE TEMPLE PILOTS (2018):
There were a lot of good track and it isn’t a bad album at all. Just not in the same league as the earlier stuff. The songs that I liked were basically the singles “Meadows”, “Roll Me Under” and “Never Enough”. At times, you could hear Jeff for who he is and at other times I felt they were trying to capture too much of the Scott style and sound. It felt like he was imitating at times and that is the curse of death. He needs to be who he is. I think he is getting more comfortable with that and I am looking forward to what will come next for this new STP. I think they will get there!!!
#5 – TINY MUSIC…SONGS FROM THE VATICAN GIFT SHOP (1996):
I really liked the heavier stuff like “Tumble in the Rough”, “Trippin’ on a Hold in a Paper Heart” and “Big Bang Baby”. Both had a heavier groove and more of what I like from the band. They hold up against any other album by STP. And some of the weirder songs were cool like “Art School Girl” and “Pop’s Love Suicide”. So, I guess the weirdness isn’t all bad. When compared to the Top 4, it wasn’t as focused for me as these were and that is why it is No. 5.
#4 – NO. 4 (1999):
Songs like “No Way Out” were both heavy and dark while songs like “Sour Girl” were a little lighter sonically, but lyrically leaned darker. They had a little psychedelic sound mixed in with the heavier sound as well. The album just fired on all cylinders for me. And one I go back to quite frequently only not as frequently as the Top 3.
#3 – STONE TEMPLE PILOTS (2010):
Stylistically it was all over the place like Shangri-la-dee-da, but put together in the order they were, it just plain worked. I loved songs like “Huckleberry Crumble” and the to go in to the twanginess of “Hickory Dichotomy” was perfect. Upon re-listening for this write-up, I liked it even better than I had in the past. It’s like it go better over time. Even songs like “Cinnamon” which was laid back and almost happy, was as great as the heavier stuff. The other singles “Take a Load Off” and “First Kiss On Mars” were both great songs, but the deep cuts were what made this album special. That and I missed them together with Scott.
#2 – PURPLE (1994):
“Vasoline” should have opened the album and is one of my favorite songs, ever, by the band. That guitar riff is brutal and kick in the face and if the album kicked off with this, man how awesome would it have been. So many great tracks including “Lounge Fly”, “Interstate Love Song”, “Still Remains”, “Pretty Penny”, “Big Empty”…do I need to go on and on. I didn’t think so.
#1 – CORE (1992):
“Sex Type Thing” and then “Wicked Garden” next were the left & right punch combination that were delivered to knock you on your ass and it did just that. Songs like “Creep” were dramatic and fascinating to me and then songs like “Plush” pulled me in to become a lifelong fan. And of course, you can’t forget the hard driving “Naked Sunday” and “Crackerman”. Hell, there was song after song of goodness and they all hold up still today. A Classic Album from the 90’s and for me there aren’t a ton of those!!
And there you have it, the Stone Temple Pilots studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same band and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!