Release Date: Nov 25, 2008
Record label: New West
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Scott Weiland is just a little too enamored of his tortured soul, titling his long-delayed second solo album Happy in Galoshes, a rather convoluted reconstruction of only being happy when it rains (he truly is a creature of the '90s). And the truth is, if anybody had reason to indulge in a little miserableness, it's Weiland, who once again suffered through a year that would have knocked out the knees of mere mortals, losing a brother, losing a wife, then trudging through the last days of his supergroup, Velvet Revolver. All this turmoil roils underneath the surface of Happy in Galoshes, which follows his underrated solo debut, 12 Bar Blues, by a full decade, but the perennial Weiland problem remains: all that angst seems to be an excuse for the songs, as the pain never fully inhabits the music.
To be sure, the Scott Weiland of Happy in Galoshes is not the same dude I witnessed belting “Plush” and beating the crap out of a concert-goer at a Stone Temple Pilots festival gig back in the early ‘90s. And it’s not the same Weiland who penned and crooned the more experimental late-era STP tunes that a dear friend played for me long after I’d moved past that band. Velvet Revolver? Nope, thankfully this new solo record has shit to do with that shit.
Weiland doesn’t get enough credit for the oddball charisma he’s brought to the work of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver. Listening to ”Happy” in Galoshes, a mediocre mess of a solo album, though, it can be difficult to remember why he ever got any credit at all. Sticky melodies crop up here and there, but they’re badly outnumbered by turgid power ballads and indulgent experiments, including an awful rap-infused cover of David Bowie’s ”Fame.” The one thing all the tracks share is Weiland’s trademark howl, sounding more scratched-up than ever.
Back in his Stone Temple Pilots days, Scott Weiland showed himself to be a better mimic than a lyricist, able to knock off the styles of different performers to suit his changing moods. Left to his own devices on Happy In Galoshes, he seems completely lost, with no idea which way to go. Working with Steve Albini in the studio instead of having a producer who might have provided Weiland with some direction wasn't a wise decision.