Stone Temple Pilots Albums Get Ranked Up!

It is my firm opinion that Stone Temple Pilots’ discography is the most underappreciated mainstream rock catalog of the past 25 years of music; the band always managed to keep things fresh and shook up their formula every single album. Here, for your clickbait pleasure, is Alternative Nation’s ranking of STP’s records, from Core to High Rise.

In addition to STP’s six studio albums and E.P. with Chester Bennington, I’ve included Scott Weiland’s solo material and the various side projects of the Deleo bros (plus or minus Eric Kretz). Not included is Delta Deep, Robert Deleo’s newest project with Phil Collen of Def Leppard, or Art of Anarchy, which Weiland claims he was never truly part of in the first place.

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14. Talk Show (1997)

The first attempt at replacing Weiland in the classic STP lineup, Talk Show saw Dave Coutts, whose vocals sort of combined the alternative sound of the mid-90’s with 80’s pop rock. As one who thinks none of the STP members have ever been involved with an awful record, Talk Show starts off strong before spiraling off into filler territory and does not really leave a lasting impression on the listener. Dave Coutts is an underrated vocalist, however, and he recently resurfaced after disappearing for many years, interacting with STP fans on Below Empty under the name “Cave Doutts” and performing some Talk Show material live in California.

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13. Happy in Galoshes (2008)

There’s a solid album buried within the sprawling double-disc Happy in Galoshes, a cathartic concept album dealing with Weiland’s failing marriage with Mary Forsberg and his relationship with his brother Michael. However, like most double albums, the project collapses under its own weight. “She Sold Her System”, “Killing Me Sweetly”, and a very emotional rendition of “Be Not Afraid” are the highlights here, while the album lost a huge opportunity for a collaboration with pop icon Pharrell Williams: the original version of the singer’s seminal hit “Happy”, which leaked earlier this year, was conceived for Happy in Galoshes.

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12. Army of Anyone (2006)

The DeLeo brothers’ collaboration with Filter frontman Richard Patrick and future Korn drummer Ray Luzier was a solid effort with masterful production and some great songwriting, but, like Talk Show, the songs lacked the extra “punch” and chemistry that Weiland and even Chester Bennington possess with their STP bandmates. Key tracks include “Non Stop”, “Goodbye”, and “A Better Place”. Note: Army of Anyone’s tourmates, Hurt, are a vastly underrated band to check out. Frontman J. Loren at one point joined Dean DeLeo on stage for a rendition of an original song, “Used To Know Her“.

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11. High Rise (2013)

Chester Bennington always wore the Weiland influence on his sleeve and is doing a solid job thus far at STP’s live shows, but the High Rise EP was a bit too rushed and underwhelming as a mission statement by the new lineup. “Out of Time” and “Tomorrow” are the standout tracks here while the rest of the EP more or less goes through the motions. The new incarnation of STP desperately need to release a follow up with at least one heavy-hitting hit to really convince everyone they mean business in studio.

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10. Libertad (2007)

The second and final Velvet Revolver album before Weiland’s departure from the band in March 2008, Libertad takes a poppier turn from Contraband. “She Builds Quick Machines” and “The Last Fight” represented the record on rock radio, though Libertad failed to have the same impact as its predecessor in 2004. The record continues the weird Weiland trend of keeping the strongest songs off of the retail release of the record; the rarity track “Gas And A Dollar Laugh” appears on the Japanese import of Libertad, while “Messages” appears on the iTunes edition.

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9. Stone Temple Pilots (2010)

The last album to feature Scott Weiland on vocals, 2010’s self-titled “Peace” record was the only set of recorded material released by the classic STP lineup following their 2008 reunion. Stone Temple Pilots opted to push forward with their pop-rock style found on the band’s later records rather than appeal to grungeheads looking for Core 2.0. That’s not to say the record doesn’t have solid tunes: “Between The Lines”, “Take A Load Off”, “First Kiss On Mars”, & “Maver”, but the record doesn’t possess the longevity of the classic five albums and is ultimately an epilogue to the classic STP’s legacy.

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8. Blaster (2015)

A solid comeback for frontman Scott Weiland with his new backing band, The Wildabouts, marred by the tragic death of guituarist Jeremy Brown at the age of 34. Blaster sort of represents a back-to-basics rock and roll record for Weiland after the divisive and experimental Happy in Galoshes. The record is front to back rock music with a focus on, as Weiland touted in many interviews, “filling the space between the notes” for a compact and fuzzy sound. The highlight of the record is the surreal Dylanesque rabble of “Parachute”.

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7.  Contraband (2004)

The debut album from Velvet Revolver, featuring Weiland on vocals and Slash, Duff Mckagan, Matt Sorum, and Dave Kushner supplying the music. The music is tight and the production on Weiland’s vocals is as strong as ever. It’s a shame the band never truly followed up on the success of “Slither” and “Fall to Pieces”.

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6. No. 4 (1999)

Producer Brendan O’Brien’s work on No. 4 was admittingly his weakest in the band’s catalog with its “wet towel” production, but the record is at its strongest during its more sentimental moments: the Billboard pop hit “Sour Girl”, the psychedelic-country love (or drug?) ballad “I Got You”, and the epic and soaring “Glide”, and the acoustic “Atlanta”, where Weiland completely channels his inner Morrison. Te latter two are two of the greatest songs in STP’s catalog of deep cuts. The other pole of the record is that of heavy-hitting rock tunes like “Down”, “Heaven & Hot Rods”, and “No Way Out.

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5. Core (1992)

Core was the record that effectively started it all, blending contemporary alternative rock music with record-oriented mindset and classic rock riffs. The record blasted the bar band known as Mighty Joe Young to worldwide fame with tunes that are still relevant on rock radio to this day like “Plush”, “Wicked Garden”, & “Sex Type Thing”. While Core arguably has the strongest string of radio heavyweights, it’s still the band’s most generic outing as far as guitar-rock goes, and their sonic heights were not truly achieved until records like Tiny Music and Shangri-La Dee Da were released.

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4. Shangri-La Dee Da (2001)

Choosing the slightly hokey “Days of the Week”, originally written for Sheryl Crow, as the lead single of STP’s fifth studio album sort of misrepresented the final product: Shangri-La Dee Da is easily STP’s most experimental album. After plowing through rockers “Dumb Love”, “Coma”, and “Hollywood Bitch”, the record descends into moody weirdness, from the manic melody of “Bi-Polar Bear” to “Transmissions from a Lonely Room”. The band found themselves at a junction when Dean Deleo and Scott Weiland reportedly got into a fist fight during their tour in support of Shangri-La Dee Da and scrapped their pending sixth album, reportedly a return to the sound of Core.

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3. 12 Bar Blues (1998)

Easily Weiland’s strongest solo record and one of this writer’s personal favorites of all time, 12 Bar Blues is the work of a creative genius in the deepest throes of addiction, and every inch of the album drips with the paradoxical desperation and manic highs Weiland was experiencing at this point in his career and personal life. From the slinky salsa-influenced “Desperation No. 5” to the ethereal closer “Opposite Octave Reaction”, 12BB is saturated with dark yet joyful melodies and psychedelic textures. Sadly, the album was too experimental to effectively kickstart a solo career, as if Scott skipped the Major Tom/Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars phase and went straight for the Berlin trilogy.

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2. Purple (1994)

Purple is inherently the band’s most “listenable” album; it contains the crunchy riffs and baritone vocals that earned STP the grunge fanbase of the early 90’s while also pushing the band towards psych/pop-oriented songwriting. “Interstate Love Song”, “Big Empty”, & “Vasoline” were the two mega hits of the record. Songs like “Unglued” and “Silvergun Superman” are fan favorites. “Still Remains” is one of the best love ballads of the alternative nation era: “…take a bath I’ll drink the water that you leave, if you should die before me ask if you could bring a friend.”

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1. Tiny Music… Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop (1996)

Casual listeners often dismiss 1996’s Tiny Music as the point where STP fell off the wayward path and became something too different from their flannel and testosterone fueled early days. However, many hardcore fans and music lovers recognize Tiny Music as the group’s opus, a swirling vortex of psychedelia laden with Beatle-esque hooks. From the surreal elevator music intro of “Press Play” to the fan favorite album closer and heroin ballad “Seven Caged Tigers”, you’ll find an eclectic mix of styles stamped with STP’s brand of rock and roll: the bossa nova of “And So I Know”, the jazz-tinged ode to the music industry “Adhesive”, & the Zeppelin-meets Beatles frenzy of “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart”. As far as “divisive but acclaimed” mainstream rock records of the 90’s go, Tiny Music deserves to be in the same pantheon as Weezer’s Pinkerton, Nirvana’s In Utero, & Pearl Jam’s No Code.

Honorable Mention: Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (2011)

A masterpiece firing on all cylinders. Forget whatever inferior album you have in mind. Scott Weiland’s cover album of traditional Christmas classics (plus the original tune “Happy Christmas (And Many More)”) is the greatest piece of recorded material of the past century.

 

  • Felonious Punk

    Wow. I mean, just…wow. WOW.

    This has got to be the most BULLSHIT album list in history. Take this over to BigEmpty and watch how many people show up at your house, pitchforks and torches alight. I knew it was a joke when I saw Happy In Galoshes at the bottom of the list, but to call the self-titled album a footnote in STP’s discography is just retarded.

    And then you put Blaster in the top ten. The fuck? The WORST stuff on Talk Show and the Army of Anyone record give anything on Blaster a serious run for its money.

    But then to put that godawful Shangrila album over Core and Contraband is just inexcusable. No true fan of STP puts that album anywhere near the other five STP records, on a list or otherwise. I even have it on opposite ends of my house from the other five albums, and move all copies I see in a record store over to the Yanni section.

    That’s it, Doug. Your STP fancard has officially been yanked. You are free to go listen to one ultra-shitty Scott Weiland solo album (the one you put at #8, not the other two superior efforts), but you’re not allowed to listen to any more STP for the rest of your life after this.

    • Philippe Gaudet

      Hey it’s a matter of fucking opinion dude. Chill out.

      • Felonious Punk

        Dude, I realize that. Hence why I gave mine, and made it humorous so people (hopefully) realized I was just taking the piss

    • JoelS

      What Philippe said. The “Yani” joke did give me a chuckle though.

    • Felonious Punk

      Purple
      Core
      Contraband
      STP Self-Titled
      12 Bar Blues
      Tiny Music
      No. 4
      Happy in Galoshes
      Libertad
      Art of Anarchy
      Army of Anyone
      Talk Show
      High Rise
      Shangri-La Dee Da
      Blaster
      Scott Weiland’s Wretched Christmas Carol Album

    • ITURBIDE

      hahaha…that was funny.

      I guess every writer wants to pass as a pretentious hipster these days…

      • Felonious Punk

        It’s fine. To each their own. I’m always amazed at the high praise Shangrila-di-shit gets, but their S/T album gets burned at the stake? ROFL

  • John

    I agree that we should not be attacking someone’s personal opinions. HOWEVER…this list is some serious B.S., I’m sorry. Purple is, IMHO, clearly the pinnacle of the STP catalog. I can’t quibble with it at #2, but while I appreciate Tiny Music, an album with filler noise like “Art School Girl” does not belong at #1. I do like the love for No. 4, and the analysis of that album is spot-on. On the other hand, the lack of love for Army of Anyone is disappointing…that is the most criminally underrated alternative supergroup album, and is AT LEAST better than Libertad, which was crappy and effectively killed VR. But the biggest travesty here is ranking Shangri-La that high. I’m the biggest STP fan you’ll find, but that album SUCKS. I tried really hard to like it back in 2002, but I think if you asked 100 hardcore STP fans what their worst album is, Shangri-La would easily win the majority.

  • God

    i just puked

  • Eddie Yarler

    High Rise is fine but certainly not above Army of Anyone. If I had to rank the seven bands it would be
    1) Stone Temple Pilots (duh)
    2) Scott Weiland
    3) Army of Anyone
    4) Velvet Revolver
    5) Art of Anarchy
    6) CHESTP
    7) Talk Show
    I love each and every album, (except Delta Deep that was awful). I mainly just went be what I find myself playing the most. I don’t understand the hate for Blaster. That is probably the closest any of the side projects have ever come to actually sounding like an STP record. Blaster is basically the inspired self titled.

  • Billy

    i will re-rank these leaving off Scott’s awful solo ventures.
    11) VR Libertad- huge let down from Contraband
    10) STP 2010 self-titled- A few really solid tracks, but overall their worst album hands down.
    9) STP High Rise- Feeling things out with Chester.
    8) STP Core- They cut their teeth with a heavy album and never really went that direction ever again.
    7) VR Contraband- Came as advertised, my fave part of this album is Sorum’s drumming.
    6) Talk Show- The Deleos are terrific at marrying pop and rock. I actually like this album more now than when it came out 18 yrs ago.
    5) Army of Anyone- This album deserved more attention. Hopefully they do another one while Chester is busy with LP
    4) 4- Pretty fitting that #4 lands at #4. A great comeback album when everyone thought Scott was done for.
    3) Tiny Music- Proving that songs don’t have to be heavy to still kick ass
    2) Shangri-La- At the time, a curious farewell, but this album is a masterpeice. Hello, it’s late and Coma are pinnacles of their ballad and riff work
    1) Purple- Not only is this their best album, it is one of the best rock albums ever recorded imo.

  • kfahymusic

    I disagree with just about everything in this list, but one thing I wholeheartedly agree with is that No. 4 had “wet towel production”. What on earth happened there?

  • George Maitland

    Everybody their own opinion. I don’t expect any blogger’s taste to exactly resemble my own.

    My only disagreement is with Weiland’s “Blaster” album as being ranked over the Talk Show and Army of Anyone albums. The AOA album is amazingly hard & full from start to finish. Talk Show isn’t as heavy as most STP, but the songs and the performances are perfectly tailored to suit Dave Coutts’ voice. The element that ties this all together are the De Leo brothers. They are without question formidable songwriters.

    My personal favorite is ‘Shangri-La Dee Da’. I see it as having the same weirdness as ‘Tiny Music’ but more focused; better songs.

    I really want to like Chester Bennington, but I don’t. I wish they picked an unknown to replace Weiland.

    I agree that overall this band has always been extraordinarily underrated. They arrived in the middle of Grunge – a music scene where both the artists and the audience were obsessed with maintaining their own credibility. Here was STP – an openly commercial mainstream band
    that was just as enamored of Kiss as it was Black Sabbath.

    Best track ever: Bi-Polar Bear.

  • dakotablue

    I would put the self-titled or Peace album higher on the list. Only a few weak ones–overall it rocked pretty good and I still listen to it quite often.
    Completely agree that the No. 4 ballads are classics. But “Dead and Bloated” should be listed as one of the best Core tracks (certainly not generic but rather weird)!
    Calling Scott’s Christmas album a masterpiece is a joke, right?

  • — J —

    Tiny Music
    Purple
    Army of Anyone
    Core
    No. 4
    Shangri-La Dee Da
    Contraband
    High Rise
    STP Self-Titled
    12 Bar Blues
    Libertad
    Talk Show
    Happy in Galoshes
    Blaster

  • Michael Dolce

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and kudos to not having Core at the top as many typical fans might. But Shangri-la at number 2? Talk Show the worst? I personally like No. 4 the best but Purple is their standout. the S/T is their worst. Everything else in between

  • geezum

    Best:First 4 STP albums,12 Bar Blues(MASTERPIECE).
    Very good:Contraband,Libertad,AOA,Shangri-la dee da
    Not bad:Talk Show,Blaster,Happy in galoshes
    Bad:Self titled,High rise,Most wonderful time…
    Ranking STP albums:
    6.Self titled(gravely disappointment,so generic,meh )
    5.Shangri-la dee da(Too much jukebox stuff for my taste,they tried too much for this one.Still,very good record.)
    4.Core.(majestic Plush,but also stupid macho rockers like Piece of pie..)
    3.Purple(great album,Interstate love song,Vasoline,Big empty,Still remains…)
    2.No4.(features masterpiece song called Atlanta,the most underrated rock ballad song in history of rock music.Great hard rock numbers like Down,Pruno,Sex and violence.Also very underrated album.For me,this is one of the best hard rock albums ever made.And I like production on this one,just one raw madafkn rock and roll album)
    1.Tiny Music(the most underrated rock album ever.)
    Great band,such a shame that Scott fucked up..

  • Twiggy Cochina

    Purple and Core are true modern rock album classics! Those albums never get old, STP are great.

  • jonny

    I’ll be listening to Scott’s Christmas album next MONTH!

  • Hwang Sunghyeop

    No.4 is STP’s core. I love that album so much.

  • Joe Costigan

    Nice list and its invoking commentary. I think Purple is their all time best album – really a perfect record from start to finish. No. 4 is in 2nd for me – total departure from the experimental tiny music album back to straight ahead rock. Core is a classic album and like others have said although the style of songs on the album are what made them initially successful they never returned to capture that sound – for better or worse. Tiny music was a great album – more abstract and experimental but had some really great songs. I prefer their self-titled 2010 effort to shangri la dee da – I could never get into that album like I was able to do with the self titled effort. I think Velvet Revolvers Contraband was a rebirth for Weiland and probably his strongest album vocally since Core. Contraband was probably one of the top rock albums of the 00s. Libertad was slightly disappointing to me at first but I have recently enjoyed it more and more – it’s not as bad as I thought it was back when it was released but it lacks the over the top pure rock aspect and focus that went into contraband.

    I can’t really speak for the other albums – I bought blaster and was initially excited about it but the antics around Weiland earlier this year just turned me off to it.

  • Unglued

    1. Core
    2. No. 4
    3. Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop
    4. Purple
    5. Shangri-La Dee Da
    6. Stone Temple Pilots

  • rustyshackleford462

    Hey Alternative Nation, how about we have a vote? Make an article so every member can vote once, ranking these 14 albums. You could weigh it too, so that a 1st place ranking gets 13 points and a 14th place gets 0. I’m sure Corndog and Felonious Punk and even that crazy Boom guy would be down for it.

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