After dabbling in Beatlesque psychedelia on 1996's TINY MUSIC (SONGS FROM THE VATICAN GIFT SHOP, Stone Temple Pilots took a more straightforward rock approach with 1999's NO. 4. During the three years between albums, Scott Weiland released a solo album amidst a sea of personal problems, while the rest of Stone Temple Pilots joined forces with Ten Inch Men vocalist Dave Coutts for the one-off side project Talk Show. The time apart helped contribute to an STP record with much darker overtones than the sunnier TINY MUSIC. Weiland's lyrics in particular allude to many of his past problems. The grinding "Pruno" tracks his falling into a downward spiral while the pounding guitars and ambient breaks of "No Way Out" help provide a background for lyrics that address his feelings of helplessness. In keeping up with the harder sounds of Korn and Limp Bizkit that dominated the pop charts in the late '90s, guitarist Dean DeLeo churns out heavy riffs throughout the Jurassic stomp of "Down" and "Heaven & Hot Rods." Balancing out these pounding tracks is more melodic fare, including the chiming "Glide" (complete with zither and fuzz bass), the acoustic "I Got You," and the lushly wistful "Atlanta."