Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Scott Weiland Songs

As you undoubtedly know, Scott Weiland died last week at the age of 48.  He was found unresponsive on his tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota.  Weiland was the mercurial lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.  Throughout his music career, his drug use was often a problem, and I am sure I'm not the only one who is surprised he made it this long. Of course, it doesn't make his death any less tragic.

Weiland will certainly be missed.  I was a big STP fan in high school (and am still a fan).  "Plush" is my favorite song of the '90s.  I always found it annoying that STP was often dismissed as Pearl Jam imitators.  I suppose it was simply because STP showed up about a year after Pearl Jam and had a lead singer whose vocal range was similar to Eddie Vedder's.  However, I think STP's sound is a little harder and darker than Pearl Jam's, and frankly, Weiland's voice isn't all that similar to Vedder's.

Of course, after STP broke up in the early 2000s, Weiland rejuvenated his career for a few years as the lead singer of supergroup Velvet Revolver (alongside Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum from Guns N' Roses and Dave Kushner from Wasted Youth).  Velvet Revolver was a hell of a good rock band, putting out two albums before Weiland left in early 2008 to reunited with Stone Temple Pilots.  After STP fired Weiland in 2013, Weiland released some solo material and most recently with his backing band, The Wildabouts (with whom he was on tour when he died).

So, in honor of his work, here are my ten (read: twelve) favorite songs sung by Scott Weiland.  I could have included some covers (like when he sat in with the surviving members of The Doors for the taping of VH1's Storytellers in 2000), but I decided to go with all originals. Rest in peace, sweet prince.

10 (tie).  "Fall to Pieces" by Velvet Revolver
I think Weiland particularly shines on this power ballad.

10 (tie).  "Dead and Bloated" by Stone Temple Pilots
"I am smelling like a rose that somebody gave me on my birthday death bed / I am smelling like a rose that somebody gave me 'cause I'm dead and bloated."  Those are the first words, snarled by Weiland a cappella, on STP's debut album, Core.  What great imagery that set the stage for the dark and brooding song, as well as the dark themes of Core in general.

10 (tie).  "Unglued" by Stone Temple Pilots
This is an underrated, fast-paced song off of the band's second album, Purple.

9.  "Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots
I think this was the first STP song I ever heard.  (It was their debut single.)  The song is a hard rocking anti-rape statement, which Weiland wrote after his girlfriend was raped after a party by three high school football players.

8.  "Vaseline" by Stone Temple Pilots
A classic STP tune off of Purple.

7.  "Slither" by Velvet Revolver
This may be Velvet Revolver's best song, with a swirling riff and quiet verses followed by outbursts in the chorus.  The solo and bridge section is my favorite part because Slash goes nuts, and then Weiland follows with a frenzy.

6.  "Crackerman" by Stone Temple Pilots
Off of the band's debut album, "Crackerman" kind of falls through the cracks (pun intended, motherfuckers) when thinking about great STP songs.  It's a great hard rock song that has been a staple on my running mix for years –- were I to run.

5.  "Wicked Garden" by Stone Temple Pilots
This is just a great '90s rock song.

4.  "Interstate Love Song" by Stone Temple Pilots
In my opinion, this is the gem of STP's sophomore album, Purple.  It's catchy, has a great riff, and has great lyrics.

3.  "Dirty Little Thing" by Velvet Revolver
A punch-you-in-the-mouth rocker, "Dirty Little Thing" is my favorite Velvet Revolver song.  For me, it highlights everything great about the band –- wicked guitars and a heavy riff, brooding and soaring vocals, and a plodding rhythm section moving everything along.

2.  "Big Empty" by Stone Temple Pilots
Every time I hear this song, I am taken back to the summer of 1994, when it was on the radio all the time.  The song was on the soundtrack to The Crow (as well as Purple).  My friends and I must have tried to see that movie five consecutive weekends that summer, only to be shut down each time because The Crow was R-rated, and none of us was 17 yet.  This song will forever remind me of driving around the western suburbs with the windows down.

1.  "Plush" by Stone Temple Pilots
Like I said, this is my favorite song of the '90s.  It's dark, it rocks, it's lyrics are open to interpretation.  What else could you ask for in a '90s rock song?  Would you even care?

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