Remember earlier in this series when I mentioned frustration as a watchword for Purple? "Army Ants" is yet another song that proves the point. Here we find the guys letting it all hang out, as it were, and particularly Scott Weiland, who works through his disappointment by asking two main questions: "Why do we all have to look this way?" and "Why do we all have to think this way?" Though he never comes to any conclusions, he certainly points out the things that anger him the most:
You don't look but you kick me. / You can't feel but you hit me. / You can't deal with the way I pray [...]. / I got a heart, I got blood, feel pain.And there are few things more basic to humanity than a desire to be understood and appreciated, so Weiland's words are understandable, to say the least.
Though "Army Ants" initially reads like a holdover from STP's "grunge days" (if they can really be called that)--straight ahead, slightly Nirvana-tinged--it transcends those limitations thanks largely to Eric Kretz's skilled and nuanced drumming, as well as the melodic opening. For many years, this was my least favorite track on the album, but now I find things to love about it. For example, the song opens with a trippy guitar part and transitions quickly into a hard rocking rhythm, echoing the structure of "Interstate Love Song" before it. If I had to compare "Army Ants" directly to another Stone Temple Pilots song, though, I'd actually choose two: "Crackerman" from Core, and "Tumble in the Rough" from Tiny Music. There's an insistent quality about each of those songs, and in fact, the subject matter is similar in each. If nothing else, at least we can say that STP have managed to stay true to their musical and lyrical selves throughout their career.
Fun fact: According to band members, the music for this song was originally formulated by Dean DeLeo when he was in his mid-teens, and when the opportunity arose to use it years later, he took it.
Join us tomorrow for the last installment in this series, which will explore "Kitchenware & Candybars"!
Image via Below Empty.