STP Goes Experimental - A "balanced" review
N. Hall | Seattle, WA USA | 09/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a huge STP fan and have been since 1992. I firmly believe they are the best band to come out of the 1990s and I also believe if they play their cards right with this new reunion they could save rock 'n roll. All that said, it's no secret their first album "Core" was extremely derivative. They since branched out and created some wonderfully inspiring rock music, basically defining an era. Their first four albums were all extremely consistent and all had a unique sound of their own. With "Shangri-La Dee Da," STP's 5th record, they continued the trend of trying new things, new ideas, new sounds. The result, however, is their most inconsistent record to date.
Long time fans of the band were undoubtedly shocked at the inconsistency on their first listen of SLDD. I disliked the album for many years, it took many many listens for me to appreciate what is going on here. With SLDD, STP ventures into territory you'd never dream the same band that released "Core" would ever explore. One of SLDD's merits would have to be Dean DeLeo's spectacular guitar playing. Dean always proved to be a competent player on their past efforts, but his performance here really stands out to me. His style has matured like wine since the days of "Core."
DUMB LOVE- Hardest song on the album, sounds like it could've come straight from "Core." Great, great song.
DAYS OF THE WEEK- Big turned around from track 1, DOTW is a poppy radio friendly number. I hated this one initially but it grew on me. Sounds like a Tiny Music track.
COMA- Back to the harder rocking sound, this song fuses classic STP with an ever-so-slight hip-hop vibe. It works. One of the best on the album.
HOLLYWOOD BITCH- Very catchy tune, a little too gritty to be "pop", but a great song nontheless. Wouldn't have sounded out of place on Tiny Music.
WONDERFUL- The album slows way down for this one that starts off acoustically. A slower number, but classic STP nonetheless.
BLACK AGAIN- The experimentation prevalent on much of the rest of the album really starts here. BA is catchy, yet unlike anything the band has ever done. You'll either love it or hate it. I'm not a fan of Weiland's falsetto that is present here and on much of the second half of the record.
HELLO IT'S LATE- A slow, quiet song reminiscent of the Doors. This track could compete with some of STP's finest work. One of my favorites.
TOO COOL QUEENIE- Arguably the best song on SLDD, TCQ really packs a punch but not in a heavy way. Think "Art School Girlfriend" meets "Interstate Love Song". Some of Weiland's finest lyrics-- simple, to the point, yet poetic.
REGENERATION- Should have been called Degeneration, the album kind of degenerates from here on out. Catchy riff and guitar work, yet Weiland's falsetto is back and the lyrics are just kind of.... dumb. More of the hip-hop influence grazed on Coma, but laid on a little thicker here. It doesn't work IMO.
BIPOLAR BEAR- Great, great lyrics, some of Weiland's finest. Starts off as an acoustic number and then gets manic, much like the story the lyrics convey. I really, really want to like Bi-Polar bear because of the subject matter but something about the song construction isn't right. Plus there's that falsetto again...
TRANSMISSIONS FROM A LONELY ROOM- Another "different" song, but I kind of like this one. Interesting lyrics and the music sounds cohesive as well. Weiland's voice during the verses is distorted, but it's kind of a cool effect. Ultimately though not as good as some of the album's best.
A SONG FOR SLEEPING- Ugh, hard to believe the same guy that wrote "Sex Type Thing" penned this sappy mess. I can tolerate this one once in a while but the subject matter sounds more like something you'd hear from Elton John than STP. The falsetto strikes again, and is at it's worst here.
LONG WAY HOME- Returning to form, SLDD goes out with a hard-hitting STP-classic rocker. Long Way Home is one of the best tracks here, right up there with the ones I mentioned liking earlier. Dean takes the spotlight for a long outro guitar solo at the end. Great stuff.
It's always good when bands experiment and try new things. You inevitably learn a lot about yourselves as musicians and what kinds of things work in your songs. And what things don't. SLDD's biggest problem is its aforementioned inconsistency. Some of the tracks here rank with the band's best work, and others are utter misses. If STP had released SLDD as an 8-song EP consisting of Dumb Love, Days of the Week, Coma, Hollywood Bitch, Wonderful, Hello It's Late, Too Cool Queenie and Long Way Home it would stand up with the rest of their catalogue as a very good, even great record. The remaining 5 songs are too obtuse and laborious to be considered mere "filler"; it's obvious the band crafted everything here meticulously with much thought and intent. The problem is that they just don't work and are too alien for long time STP fans (myself included) to appreciate."
Yithomit | 06/20/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is almost like the lost stp album. Seriously underrated. Its got some of the best stp songs ever on this album. Days of the week knock the rating on this down a little bit, i didnt care for that one at all. I think that was a bad choice for the radio and could of been dropped from the album imo. Other songs are a great add to stp's collection and like i said some are just beautiful and the best written songs by stp ever. Very similar to no4 yet not as solid but most definetly worth buying. If you dont get it at first keep listening it will really grow on you!