Core (Super Deluxe Edition)
When Stone Temple Pilots debuted with Core in 1992, the music press and burgeoning alt-rock scene didn’t quite know what to think of them. And so the band was hastily thrown under Seattle’s grunge umbrella, even though they hailed from sunny Southern California and sounded slinkier and sexier than anything else playing on alternative radio. Of course, frontman Scott Weiland was the main source of that sizzling-hot magnetism, his effortless swagger and jagged rasp lifting STP’s hard, heavy approach out of the sludge and straight into the Gen-X consciousness. He wasn’t afraid to be the mercurial rock star either, a point he’d prove immediately, hollering maniacally through a bullhorn on opener “Dead & Bloated,” before drummer Eric Kretz and bassist Robert DeLeo lock into a frantic rhythm and guitarist Dean DeLeo piles on the dense metallic crunch. But it’s the album’s biggest hits that would seal the band’s rock-god fate. “Sex Type Thing” thumps and thrashes as Weiland mocks machismo, his sinister sneer so convincing critics thought he was singing in first person. Meanwhile, “Wicked Garden” ruminates on lost innocence over a relentlessly brutal chug of guitars, “Creep” slows things down with its introspective angst, and “Plush” tells the haunting story of a woman found dead via one of the decade’s catchiest riffs. The deeper cuts let their wilder ideas loose, like the wicked-fast, warped funk of “Naked Sunday” and the blistering guitar solo on “Piece of Pie,” in which Weiland pulls out his freakiest Jim Morrison. With Core, STP didn’t bow down to grunge—they demolished it, then redefined it.