Sound: I'm going to go ahead and say this: it's going to be impossible to review this album without comparing some of it to Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots (Scott Weiland's previous bands). With that being said, in Velvet Revolver there was a feeling that the singer (and the rest of the band) was trying to be something it wasn't... a group of hard rockers who live on the edge. This new solo album, "Happy in Galoshes" washes his hands free from that.
The sound and styles on this album range from various extremes. There's the Bowie-esque "Missing Cleveland", the space-rock "She Sold Her System", the electropop "Big Black Monster", and the Catholic hymn (and secret track)"Be Not Afraid". Even though there is a huge range of styles, none of them feel very unique in their own right -- they all feel like they are coming from the same album. All the tracks have a shiny pop glossing that make them both a little watered down, but very accessible. // 8
Lyrics: This album marks a return to form for Weiland's vocals. Gone is the forced attitude in Velvet Revolver, and the vocalist we once knew from Stone Temple Pilots has seemed to returned (although you wouldn't guess this from "Missing Cleveland"). The highlight is "Killing Me Sweetly", an acoustic song that highlights the smooth side of his voice. However, the lyrics largely stay the same. Even though I would say that the lyrics ARE better than they are in VR, that's still not saying much. The lyrics never grab at any emotional strings, and Weiland never really tries to convey his world to you; another hindrance of that shiny pop glossing. // 7
Overall Impression: Overall, this is a good album, sometimes even almost a great album, bt it does have it's flaws. For one, Scott Weiland's debut solo album "12 Bar Blues" had more feeling of adventure and exploration. He sounded like he had a fun time recording the songs and exploring styles (with the exception of song "Beautiful Day"). Now, it almost feels like he didn't put his heart into the studio.
A few more flaws: the last three tracks on the album (including the bonus track), although they can be relaxing, remain without the melodic hooks that the rest of the album does making them instantly forgettable. The bonus track, the Catholic hymn "Be Not Afraid", feels very self-indulgent (what else are solo projects for? ) but a little too reminiscent of Jeff Buckley's work. The cover of "Fame" (originally by David Bowie) is an interesting translation, but ultimately it outwears it's welcome before the song is even over. "Big Black Monster" sounds too similar to "Desperation #5" from his first solo album. And lastly, the name of the album is awful.
With all that being said, I still think this is a good album. The melodies therein and the range of styles make up for the flaws in the album. Tracks like "She Sold Her System", "Beautiful Day" and "Big Black Monster" are great songs in their own right, and will probably end up in a Stone Temple Pilots' sets the same way his earlier "Mockingbird Girl" did. While it's nice to see Scott Weiland exercising his creativity, it's a little disappointing to see him not expanding it. // 7