Some bands just aren't cool. Period. And no band has tried and failed so spectacularly as Stone Temple Pilots, the grunge-era workhorse that has inexplicably survived long enough to unleash a fifth album, Shangri-La-Dee-Da. Brief recap: Four studs rip off Pearl Jam (not cool) for a pair of critically denounced, publicly adored records. The third record is a noisy, abstract affair that silences a few detractors. But then comes a lengthy bout with heroin addiction for frontman Scott Weiland, who's not cool, always and forever. Then come side projects (arrgh!) and solo albums (ugh!), leading up to a reunion album that violently rips off the Doors (doh!).
Shangri-La-Dee-Da can be best described as a potpourri of STP's past. "Dumb Love" kicks it off with dunderheaded grunge-rock narcissism quite similar to the classic "Sex Type Thing" (you know, the song that goes "I am, I am, I am, I said I wanna get next to you"). "Days of the Week" follows it up with the STP flip side: jangly, boring pop similar to the not-so-classic "Sour Girl." Every other tune picks one of those two guises and stomps on it for four minutes or so. "Hollywood Bitch" is a hijacked Poison song, cock-rock bravado about a femme fatale "so fake that she seems real." "Black Again" is a bogus Warrant-style weeper. And "A Song for Sleeping" steals a page from Mötley Crüe's playbook: It's the insufferable ballad-to-my-kid equivalent of the Crüe's "Brandon." Even rockin' tunes like "Coma" are merely shells of better, earlier efforts like "Wicked Garden." The best of the STP ballads, "Hello It's Late," rips off everything from Pink Floyd to Dada before burying it in dumbass lyrics about "sittin' on this merry-go-round." The whole record oozes this arty, pretentious self-importance, all when STP's best bet is to drop the Pink Floydisms, go hair metal, and achieve coolness 15 years from now, when hair metal is cool again.
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