In the eleven months since his passing, the natural reaction to Scott Weiland’s death among his fans has been a desire to jam to favorite Stone Temple Pilots songs whenever thinking about the singer. But while throwing on a classic like “Interstate Love Song” or “Plush” is certainly understandable on a day like today when Weiland would have been 49, we should not forget some of the lesser-known classics that Weiland gave us, both with STP and in his solo work. These are some of the deep cuts that show just how consistent a songwriter Scott Weiland was.
“Still Remains” – From Purple
This is a stone cold classic that found legs among STP fans despite the fact that it was never a single and never got the airplay that “Big Empty” and “Vasoline” got. One of STP’s more emotional songs, Weiland’s distressed delivery of “take a bath/I’ll drink the water that you leave” really sticks with the listener.
“Adhesive” – From Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop
On STP’s third album, the band displayed their experimental side, and it worked wonders for them as they created what is often considered their masterpiece. “Adhesive” was a particularly ambitious track—a psychedelic ballad featuring some of Weiland’s darkest lyrics. The song is, perhaps, most remarkable for Dave Ferguson’s epic trumpet solo, which takes the song into an entirely new dimension. More than any other, this song refuted the notion that STP was merely a Pearl Jam clone.
“Barbarella” – From 12 Bar Blues (solo)
I’m cheating here because, technically, this track was released as a single. Sadly, though, “Barbarella” was DOA in terms of airplay, but as you can tell, it’s a bit avant-garde, so it’s absence from the airwaves is somewhat understandable. If Tiny Music showed that STP had an experimental streak, Weiland’s solo debut, 12 Bar Blues, went even further. It was one of the weirdest albums he ever recorded, but also one of the best.
“I Got You” – From 4
While “Sour Girl” is probably the most famous song from STP’s underrated fourth album, it’s not the only one to display the softer side of Weiland’s songwriting. A gentle, ’60s-ish tune, this song starts off fairly quietly before bursting into one of the band’s most memorable choruses. As Weiland sings, “I got you to paint the sorrow on my day/and I got you to paint the roses on my grave,” one wonders if Weiland’s singing about a co-dependent relationship with a woman, or if he’s referring to the hold his addiction had on him. Either way, it’s a beautiful and woefully underappreciated song.
“Atlanta” – From 4
This album-closing ballad was another criminally underrated track from 4, which is easily the best STP album that no one ever talks about. Much like “I Got You,” the song appears to compare Weiland’s heroin addiction to a relationship with a woman; but whereas that song was only half-bleak, this song veers toward unrelenting darkness as Weiland sings, “She lives by the wall/and waits by the door.”
In light of his death, this might be a particularly tough one to listen to.
“Paralysis” – From Happy… In Galoshes (solo)
Weiland’s second solo album wasn’t quite as “out there” as the first, but he still went places he probably wouldn’t have gone to with STP. This was likely the standout track, a cut about a deteriorating relationship in which both partners meant well, yet still drove each other in the opposite direction. It was a nice song that probably could have been a hit had it come out a decade earlier, or been included on an STP album. Either way, it shows that Weiland kept writing great songs long after his ’90s prime.
“First Kiss on Mars” – From Stone Temple Pilots
STP’s self-titled comeback and Scott’s final work with the band lacked the hard-rock edge of STP’s early work, but that doesn’t stop it from being worth your time. This track, in particular, manages to simultaneously show off the more sensitive aspects of Weiland’s songwriting and his cleverness. Basically, it’s a country love song that makes numerous references to space travel. When Weiland sings about “super magic robots at the solar system,” it shouldn’t work, but somehow it does. Perhaps because he had the confidence to deliver any line, no matter how seemingly awkward it was.
This is an updated version of a post that originally ran on December 7, 2015.