I woke up with “Sour Girl” by Stone Temple Pilots, running through my head. Whenever I think of this song, it reminds me of my internship at the first newspaper I ever worked for. There was an older reporter there (not old; probably about as old as I am now, but from my 21-year-old eyes, he definitely seemed older than me). Anyway, he was pretty cool — a little skeevy sometimes, with the up-and-down-and-up-again eye scan of every female, but still a nice guy at the core. And he had good taste in music. I heard him going on about this song to another reporter. I knew the song. It was a big hit for STP that summer of 2000. But I didn’t really pay much attention to it, until my eavesdropping forced me to listen again. I liked STP well enough. I was a ’90s girl, and the grinding guitars of “Sex Type Thing” and Scott Weiland’s deep growl on “Dead and Bloated” worked for me. Much about Scott Weiland worked for me, in fact. Heroin addiction and perpetual philandering are such appealing, rock ‘n’ roll qualities from far, far away. Anyway, though it hadn’t grabbed me at first, I took another listen to “Sour Girl”, and tried to ignore the fact that the band had used Sarah Michelle Gellar in their video (she’s always irritated me for some reason). I realized the first few bars of the song, before Scott comes in with the lyrics, are almost like a little story on their own. I could hear the origin, and demise of this relationship he goes on to sing about. I even made my own lyrics to the instrumental intro. In my head I sing along: “When I saw her, how I loved her, oh I hurt her and she went away” (x2). Yes, they’re terrible. Certainly not up to snuff with the real lyrics, like my favourite line mid-way through the song: “The rollercoaster ride’s a lonely one; I paid a ransom note to stop it from steaming”. I heard this song is about one of Scott’s divorces, so I imagined he paid both figuratively and literally for his mistakes. Strangely, he sounds more heartbroken than “sour” himself. I know that older reporter-man was on his own second marriage. He may be on another by now. So I understand why this song struck him. I think, for me, the appeal is just the softer side of STP, and the honest regret that bleeds out of the speakers.