It's fashionable to knock Scott Weiland but it's almost too easy. His oversized mouth, life, and, antics have worn people out, making him something of a punch line. He is more famous for being famous than for any actual contributions he may have made along the way. Only the Dave-n-Sammy wars with the brothers Van Halen can top the embarrassing, immature episode that saw Weiland depart from his band of convenience, Velvet Revolver, to return to the smoldering ashes of his former band, Stone Temple Pilots.
Happy in Galoshes is a chaotic record that bears the scars of a decade of tumult. It's easy to lay the blame for the chaos at the creator's feet and to be sure some of it belongs there, but not all the wounds were self-inflicted. This is Weiland's first solo record in a decade, made during a period when he would feud with STP's former label, Atlantic Records and VR drummer Matt Sorum, end a marriage, and bury a brother. Last year, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Intermittent struggles with substance abuse and the consequences also continued to dog him.
It's no great surprise Weiland's music gets overshadowed, but it is a shame. He obviously had plenty of life experiences to draw upon when writing for the album, but decoding his lyrics is a distraction. The main reason to listen to any Scott Weiland record is to experience his gift for melody. I'm sure there are people who have memorized lyrics to STP and VR songs, but I'm not one of them. I'm lucky if I know the choruses. I can hum a few bars, though, and that's the gift of his music: melodies wrapped in an amalgam of shiny wrappers. Some are bloated and bombastic while others are spare. Even when the riffs are derivative and the influences are obvious, they all add up to something uniquely Weiland. Stepping out on his own with only his own ego to feed has allowed him to make the power pop record we should have always assumed he had him.
Before we examine the record, it's important to know there are two different versions of it. The single-disc edition is 12 tracks and is available everywhere, including Best Buy. Best Buy has an exclusive edition that is expanded to 20 tracks spread across two discs. The 2-CD edition is sequenced slightly differently, meaning this is not an album plus bonus disc packaging.