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CD Reviews:  Stone Temple Pilots: Shangri-La Dee Da

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For years, there were always two constants for the Stone Temple Pilots: singer/songwriter Scott Weiland's much-publicized drug problems and then, of course, great music. Well, after several pitfalls and even a stint in prison, Weiland apparently has kicked that pesky heroin addiction but, with the release of their fifth album, STP triumphantly shows the music has survived the bumpy ride. If No. 4, the band's 1999 release, was a disappointment, then Shangri-La Dee Da is a return to glory for this San Diego quartet. 

The album kicks off with the rowdy "Dumb Love," a fantastic opener saturated with Dean DeLeo's heavy guitar riffs and Weiland's gritty vocals. The third track, "Coma," also features the kind of driving guitar chords that catapulted STP into stardom with their 1992 debut, Core. But throughout the rest of Shangri-La Dee Da, the band -- and in particular Weiland -- demonstrate just how much they've grown since those early days. "Wonderful," a spectacular love song written for his wife, is the gem of the collection, displaying Weiland's newfound maturity along with his true lyrical brilliance: "I wanna ask you to forgive me / I haven't been the best with all that I had / Wish I'd only laid beside you / I think I spread myself a little too thin." "A Song for Sleeping," a lullaby written for his son Noah, also shows STP's softer side, while with "Hollywood Bitch" and "Regeneration," Weiland & Co. prove they still know how to kick a song into high gear, demonstrating the kind of diversity that sparks comparisons to their second album -- and quite possibly their best release to date -- Purple.

It truly is remarkable that, after all these years and all the turmoil, the Stone Temple Pilots have managed to pull through intact while, even more incredibly, still generating some of the best rock music you'll hear today. Shangri-La Dee Da is filled with the inspiration of a man who somehow managed to pull himself out of his own personal hell, and the sound of a band that successfully endured the storm.

~Jamey Codding 



Other Stone Temple Pilots reviews:
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