Sixteen Stone

Bush

I did it, you did it (presumably), we all did it ... listened to Machinehead before playing in a sporting event. For me though, it was with a Sony Walkman. Beyond Machinehead, Sixteen Stone has bragging rights for producing Everything Zen, Little Things, Glycerine, and my favorite, Comedown.

Bush's Sixteen Stone drops five solid singles, getting the little things right.

Bush’s debut album, Sixteen Stone holds up well nearly 25 years later. It also helped push lead singer Gavin Rossdale into instant fame. As for Pulsford, Parsons, and Goodridge, man, those guys could make a ton of noise! Sixteen Stone is a worthwhile addition to your rock album collection.

Your mileage may vary with this observation, but it feels as if Sixteen Stone starts off in the spirit of Nirvana and ends in Smashing Pumpkins.

Rating

I give Sixteen Stone a 810

The five singles off Sixteen Stone are really strong.

Bush Sixteen Stone album cover
Bush Sixteen Stone album cover

Track listing

  1. Everything Zen
  2. Swim
  3. Bomb
  4. Little Things
  5. Comedown
  6. Body
  7. Machinehead
  8. Testosterone
  9. Monkey
  10. Glycerine
  11. Alien
  12. X-Girlfriend

Album notes

Everything Zen

Great tension build up in the intro to Everything Zen. Bush brings in shifty, vibrating guitars, that rolloff to the bass and drums. And now Rossdale’s vocals get introduced. That’s pretty much how you write a perfect beginning to an Alternative Rock song.

Same shifty guitars return for the solo.

Got a Rockin’ in the Free World breakdown at the 3:00 minute mark.

There’s no sex in violence!

Love the grunge outro.

Swim

A garage rock tune. Right before the vocals enter is where the Mom opens up the door to the garage and asks the boys if anyone wants Kool-Aid.

Swim is a decent tune. Could be a lesser album’s 3rd or 4th single.

Got quite the angsty end.

Sixteen Stone is a good album for a teenager, which I was at the time. Who knew?

Bomb

Bomb feels British Distortion knock off of Nirvana, with a dash of Sponge, Rotting PiƱata, not Wax Ecstatic.

Little Things

Little Things is pretty good rock tune.

The arpeggiated pre-chorus is key to building the rock power of the chorus.

One confusing lyric, “Summer is winter and you always knew” … what does that mean? Anyone?

The octave vocal harmonizer, or whatever effect Gavin is using, really adds to the frenetic state of Little Things.

Comedown

Dave Parsons bassline on Comedown is the stuff of legend. It’s simple. It’s (relatively) repetitive. And it’s remarkably memorable, almost up there with The Breeder’s Cannonball. Every time that I catch Comedown on WAAF, I know it’s Bush within half a heartbeat.

Bush really nails the medium paced anthem with an absolutely huge chorus. And then they proceed to annihilate the ending.

Let’s count how they do it.

Masteful.

Body

Is that Rusty Cage!? No? … Body? Ok, fine. Sure sounded like Badmotorfinger’s Rusty Cage.

Anyway, Body, like Swim, could have been someone else’s 2nd or 3rd single. Got a Black Lab vibe with the way Parsons’ bass supports Pulsford’s guitar work.

Not enough good things can be said about Pulsford’s playing style on Sixteen Stone. He uses nearly all of the tools available to him. Bends, slides, trills, hammers, whammy technique, everything short of EVH style finger tapping.

Machinehead

A freight train’s worth of power. Machinehead is a get-psyched, pump-you-up song for sooooo many DudeBro’s.

Breath in, Breath out!

In a shocking bit of creativity, Bush pulls the power plug on the refrain, cutting all of the distortion and Goodridge’s pounding drums, creating an atmospheric float to Rossdale’s vocals.

Not true for the second time around, Bush tosses haymakers.

A spoken word breakdown for a breather. Annnnnd, we’re back.

They don’t seem to want to let Machinehead end.

Testosterone

HUGE riff. Parsons and Goodridge carry the verse.

Testosterone was not return for the #MeToo movement. I mean, sure, the lyrics might be poking fun of DudeBro’s, but the music is DudeBro Rock 101.

If you were going to name any song on Sixteen Stone, Testosterone, it probably should have been Machinehead.

But I get what they are trying to do here on Track 7.

Monkey

Monkey is a fun tune. Great song to hear at a small rock club. Monkey may be sitting in a filler spot at Track 9, but it does a good job of keeping the pace up.

The Monkey dodges, ducks, dips, dives, and dodges on the trail a bit with some interesting changes mid song and a, “scream out the ending” outro.

Glycerine

The illustrious 10th track 90s Power Ballad! Glycerine takes a cue from The Smashing Pumpkins “Disarm”, relying on strings in the form of a cello, violin, and viola, only this time with an electric guitar, to convey the emotionally moving (to a teenager) sadness of letting the days go by.

Hey, it made 28th on the Billboard Hot 100.

Once again, Bush not letting a song end. Pretty cool string ending though.

Alien

Nice bass work from Parsons to open Alien.

Atmospheric build up via feedback, (assumably) wirebrush sticks.

Tension. Pressure. Slow, powerful chorus!

Having Glycerine and Alien back to back is the rare occurrence of back-to-back slow songs.

X-Girlfriend

Punk rock fun! X-Girlfriend is not lyrically diverse, but it is quite to the point.

Bush was probably thinking, hey, why not with this one.