No. 4 gave Stone Temple Pilots the comeback they were looking for, albeit a little later and a little differently than expected. Nearly a year after its release, "Sour Girl" gave the band its biggest hit in years, and it set up their fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da, perfectly. They seized this opportunity by turning out the same record as the time before, splitting the difference between heavy rockers and sugar-sweet psych-pop tunes. That's not a bad thing, nor is it unexpected, since they've basically been staking this same territory since Tiny Music, yet at this point, it feels as if the Pilots are comfortably within a musical groove, no matter how much turmoil they have privately. And, while this doesn't result in a particularly surprising record, it's not an album that's bad, either. Here, as on 4, they're not just better on the pop tunes, they're phenomenal on the pop tunes. Regardless of their critical reputation, no rock band of their time turned out such a consistently dazzling streak of pop tunes. Sometimes, the rockers do catch hold -- "Dumb Love" provides a gripping opening, "Hollywood Bitch" has a real sense of propulsion, the dreamy "Hello It's Late" has a gentle rush of its own -- but, by this point, they don't seem as interesting as the excursions into psych-pop that gives Shangri-La Dee Da its real core. That's nothing new, but that's not a bad thing at all.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine