’s “Happy” in Galoshes
is the Stone Temple Pilots
frontman’s response to the last two hard years of his life. The songs on Galoshes
touch on the death of Weiland’s brother as well as the deterioration of his eight-year marriage. But far from being a dark dirge, Galoshes
has a lively, expansive sound that veers away from his work in STP or even Velvet Revolver
. Though still a rock album, Galoshes
demonstrates that Weiland’s interests go beyond the hit-heavy sound that made his name.
Going for a Bowie Vibe
“Happy” in Galoshes
is Weiland’s second solo album, the first being 1998’s 12 Bar Blues
improves on the earlier effort by delivering a better set of songs. (Note: “Happy” in Galoshes
also comes in a deluxe two-disc edition that contains more new material.) The man worships David Bowie
, which comes through most overtly in a mediocre cover of Bowie’s “Fame,” and a lot of the album seeks to harness that artist’s gift for moody, otherworldly ambiance, most notably on the downhearted ballad “She Sold Her System.” With Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland proved to be an intriguing chameleon, morphing from a Jim Morrison-like figure into an androgynous glam-rock singer when the moment called for it. Galoshes
demonstrates that same shape-shifting quality, and part of the album’s pleasure is its confident adventurousness.
An Impressionistic Portrait of Inner Turmoil
Those familiar with the backstory to Galoshes
might expect a breakup album like Bob Dylan
’s Blood on the Tracks
or a funereal record on par with Lou Reed’s Magic and Loss
. But while there is a melancholy vibe that pervades the album, Galoshes
isn’t a painfully personal diary of a man in mourning for a brother and a failing relationship. Instead, the pain is in the intimations, like the opening cut “Missing Cleveland,” which references the city of Weiland’s childhood with “the snow and lonely bars where everybody knows the truth and lets it be.” Tabloid fans will be disappointed: Galoshes
is no tawdry tell-all. Instead, the oblique references to lost connections throughout Galoshes
add up to an impressionistic portrait of Weiland’s fragile inner life.
Not Every Experiment Works
While Weiland’s experimentation can be engaging – not to mention a way to distance himself from the bands he’s known for – sometimes the songs work more as sonic exercises than fully-functioning songs. This becomes true especially near the end of Galoshes, where the tracks become increasingly atmospheric but fail to connect. The pretty chamber-pop of “Arch Angel” and the carnivalesque “Beautiful Day” show real skill, although neither hits you on an emotional level. By contrast, the simple pop sensibility of the country-ish “Tangle With Your Mind” and the new wave-influenced “Crash” resonate – the songs feel both timeless and modern. On the whole, Galoshes is half-successful in turning Weiland’s musical wanderings into stirring music.
Scott Weiland's '"Happy" in Galoshes' - Bottom Line
Fans of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver might be perplexed by the tonal shifts of “Happy” in Galoshes
– it’s hardly an album you’d expect from the frontman of those bands. But it reveals Scott Weiland’s willingness to push himself creatively. Hard times inspired the album, and Weiland has managed to produce something meaningful out of his anguish.
Best '"Happy" in Galoshes' Tracks:
“Tangle With Your Mind” (Purchase/Download
“Missing Cleveland” (Purchase/Download
“She Sold Her System” (Purchase/Download
Release date – November 25, 2008
Softdrive Records/New West Records