Purple (2019 Remaster)

Purple (2019 Remaster)

Stone Temple Pilots enjoyed enormous commercial success with their grunge-adjacent 1992 debut album Core. Wisely, the San Diego band didn’t tinker too much with their approach on 1994’s Purple, working once again with producer Brendan O’Brien and recording and mixing the record in just under four weeks. While the album certainly had its Core-like moments—namely the slithering psych-rock boogie “Vasoline” and the jagged metallic stomp “Unglued”—STP had no interest in repeating themselves sonically. Purple’s rock-oriented moments exuded inspiration, with “Lounge Fly” demonstrating the band’s interest in looping different instruments for effect. Musically, STP’s progression was even more obvious on “Big Empty,” which appeared on The Crow soundtrack and was Purple’s lead single. Although the song’s dynamics were similar to those on Core—quiet verses giving way to loud, crashing choruses—the antique-sounding guitar licks were indebted to country music, and Weiland’s conspiratorial vocals were pure ’70s rock crooner. Other moments on Purple were just as nuanced. “Pretty Penny,” which the band recorded together in a living room, was a stripped-down acoustic number that found drummer Eric Kretz playing congas and bongos; the end result was somewhere between Led Zeppelin and a campfire sing-along. And the enduring hit “Interstate Love Song” used folk music and bittersweet power-pop chords as a foundation for a song about painful personal betrayal. As the latter song indicates, vocalist Scott Weiland’s lyrics this time around captured the complexities of life and maintaining a relationship while navigating living with addiction. The grinding, Alice in Chains-esque “Meatplow” is about staying defiant in the face of challenges thanks to a support system, while “Still Remains” is a smoldering Southern rock song about longing and obsession. In the end, Purple was yet another major commercial success, and is rightfully considered a blueprint for the exciting ways grunge evolved by the mid-1990s.

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