Stone Temple Pilots Still Rock Harder Than Twenty One Pilots

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This is an unpublished throwback review originally written in March 2018:

The thrill of anticipation for a new Stone Temple Pilots album is a feeling I figured would never happen again but as we approach the release date of their second self-titled album in a row, there’s a sense of excitement in the air for the STP fan. March 16th can’t come soon enough.

Because we’re currently living in a pop/hip hop/pop culture era, one can’t help but think that this new album won’t make a significant impact but it will help heal old wounds of the band and their fans. Perhaps it’s been long enough since the band’s darkest hour came in the passing of Scott Weiland, due to the band’s hesitation in finding a replacement singer. When they did, they found Jeff Gutt who luckily has not faced a major backlash from the fanbase. So far, Gutt seems to have blended the Weiland voice and his own voice at just the right ratio to feel like the right choice was made.

Stone Temple Pilots still have substance

Scott was excellent in so many areas that it’s hard to match him in all of them and we find that on the first 3 songs issued from Stone Temple Pilots, Gutt is not as good lyrically, keeping totally straightforward in his approach without much nuance. Weiland was able to carve a lyric in abstract ways, layered ways, honest ways and penetrating ways with great word choice and fascinating moods and imagery.   So many lessons are to be learned in the alt. rock poet’s messages that it would be hard for any singer to compete. Still, their songs have more substance than most of the mainstream music world.

But maybe that doesn’t matter so much since the music still packs a punch in the classic Stone Temple Pilots hard rock style. This isn’t Twenty One Pilots who have had major commercial success from their contemporary pop leanings and softened edges. The punch-packed “Meadow” and the fierce bulldozer of a song “Roll Me Under” prove that STP are stomping back on their stomping grounds of old and not catering to the mainstream. “The Art of Letting Go” reveals a band that can still write a great composition as it works on a number of levels, especially melodically.

These are enough to realize STP don’t need auto computer anything to get our hearts pumping for new music. I’ll be surprised if the rest of the album is all dance pop. Sometimes guitars, bass, drums and vocals are all you need to get the best music has to offer.