Stone Temple Pilots officially hit the rock music scene in 1992 with their release of Core, the explosive grunge album from a band that wasn’t from the grunge scene. STP originally came from San Diego, California, while artists known for grunge (think Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains) hailed from the North West and Seattle areas.
But to call Stone Temple Pilots’ Core grunge is not completely accurate. Many, including this author, categorize this definitive release metal/grunge, or grunge/metal. Whatever order you prefer those words to be.
And the metal side of the definition fits. You don’t hear songs like “Crackerman” and “Piece Of Pie” from other Seattle artists (well, maybe from Soundgarden). But the Pilots are special. Scott Weiland was special!
Their debut album was special too. This album review of Core will gush a bit. I grew up on it. When it came out I was just 21, impressionable, partying like mad, and woukd soon be working at a rock radio station.
“Core” by Stone Temple Pilots
Core was the soundtrack of my wild sins. It was there when I drove around town (CDs were supposed to last forever!). It was on the jukebox at the local dive bar. It was at the house party when us hoodlums found a place to trash.
But if you only listened to the radio singles from Core, you were missing out on the pure raging genius Scott Weiland, brothers Dean DeLeo (lead guitar) and Robert DeLeo (bass guitar), and drummer Eric Kretz.
The album was more than a few singles and filler. It was a ride from start to finish, with an Intrumental track, intro tracks, and ravenous fun you’d expect from a suppressed, pre-teen with daddy issues. But the album also had heart, even if somewhat damaged. The disc’s seventh track “Creep” bleeds this.
Below we dive into STP’s Core album track by track. This review is subjective, so please, leave your comments and opinions below, even if you’d like to tell me how wrong I am. But I’m not. Keep reading…
Core Album Review
1. “Dead & Bloated“: What a way to start a record! Sing it with me… “I amm smellin’ like a rose that somebody gave me on my birthday death bed… I aammm smellin’ like a rose that somebody gave me cause I’m dead and bloated…!” The first time I ever heard that it boggled my brain 🧠! I was shocked how cool, and different it was! Scott Weiland set the tone of STP’s entire music career with that intro! And the song too, with it’s grinding groove that hammered like a dirty, relentless machine.
2. “Sex Type Thing“: And then this! “Sex Type Thing” was a work of art, heavily making it onto radio airwaves even to this day. The song rocks, and it also tested the limits of society with its lyrics. Oh, and MTV loved playing the dark and ominous music video (see the playlist below).
3. “Wicked Garden“: If “Sex Type Thing” wasn’t sexual enough, “Wicked Garden” would finish you off 😉. No safe words here. “Wicked Garden” is straight to the point “I wanna run thru your wicked garden…” But the song’s hooks and riffs were cool enough to get any prudish fan singing.
4. “No Memory (Intrumental)“: Here at The Retro we’ve tried like the dickens to add this instrumental intro to “Sin” to honor the work. But unfortunately it is a complete train wreck in rotation. But every now and again we slip it in, because it JUST SOUNDS AMAZE BALLS going into…
5. “Sin“: This fully exposed song about drugs and addiction. “Sin” is a true album song 🎵, and a masterpiece of malicious martyrdom. Weiland digs into his demons and exposes their attraction.
6. “Naked Sunday“: Speaking of great album tracks, “Naked Sunday” mixes rock, dance and concert stadium bravado. The flange phasing done on the drum intro and on Scott’s voice is done delicately, but with purpose.
7. “Creep“: Don’t EVER mix this song up with Radioheads “Creep”. It’s not the same, not even close. And that other band should be ashamed of themselves for using the same song title, just a few years later, stolen straight from our subject’s repertoire. Stone Temple Pilots’ “Creep” boxed up every grunge lover’s self-loathing and delivered it like a singing telegram.
8. “Piece Of Pie“:And now the BEST album track on the album! Listen to “Piece Of Pie” and try NOT to imagine Weiland belting this out onstage with a bullhorn! This was the album track EVERYONE knew, even if they didn’t have the album.
9. “Plush“: Rock songs really tried to have a back story back then, and “Plush” did it best. The song was inspired by an article the group came across about a kidnapped and murdered girl in the early 90’s. The details don’t quite add up, but accounts from members support this legend. Btw, this song STILL dominates rock radio. Or at least good rock radio.
10. “Wet My Bed“: Remember how fantastic Core started off ‘dead and bloated’? This intro track to “Crackerman” captured a true addict’s favorite type of drunken, drugged existence. “And where did Mary go with my only cigarette? Ok, now what…?”
11. “Crackerman“: Ok, so I know I already JUST said “Piece Of Pie” was the best album track on the CD, but I was wrong. “Wet My Bed” into “Crackerman” was every Stone Temple Pilots superfan’s favorite double shot. And “Crackerman’s” chugging drum and guitar riffs could make even a devout nun drive recklessly!
12. :Where The River Goes“: A perfect alternative metal record deserves the best send-off song that stretches the runtime, and the kick ass music, and “Where The River Goes” does just that. And you’ll “sing that song, sing that song till the farmer done died… yeaaah.”
So what do you think? If you need a refresher of the songs on Core; how they sound and how they make you feel, we included a YouTube video playlist of the entire CD (sorry, I still call albums that) from start to finish- you’re welcome 😊: Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think of this musical masterpiece.