“Creep” by Stone Temple Pilots (1992)

Why yes, there was a lot of music made by and for disaffected people in the early ‘90s, particularly by and for young men. Gangsta rap took over one side of the spectrum, and morose alternative rock consumed the other side. Then the two merged and we got Korn and Limp Bizkit and that was the textbook definition of “worst possible outcome”.

Anyway, Radiohead’s “Creep” and STP’s “Creep” share more than a title and release year (which is plenty in and of itself). Both songs find their lead vocalists and chief songwriters in self-flagellation mode, spurned by an object of affection. While Thom Yorke’s dramatic moans recall Morrissey, Scott Weiland’s guttural growl calls to mind a more immediate predecessor-Eddie Vedder.

STP caught a lot of shit for playing Pearl Jam a little too close, but I have to say I was much fonder of Weiland’s grunge god posturing than I was of his later neo-Bowieisms. “Creep” hit me in the gut in its heyday (ethnicity aside, I was a 16 year old guy and therefore its target audience), and the song remains affecting a quarter century later.

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