Sound — 9
Rocketing to the forefront of the music world in 1992, Scott Weiland has become one of music's most highly respected and prolific artists. As the front man for Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland has remained a dominant force in rock music since the group's inception. Now, with his sophomore solo release, Weiland proves that his music and song-writing is as potent and powerful as ever. "Happy In Galoshes", produced by Scott Weiland and Doug Grean (Velvet Revolver, Sheryl Crow, Crystal Method), with selected tracks recorded by Steve Albini, features a collection of songs that bring a revitalizing sound to Weiland's highly praised and unique musical style. The inception of the "Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" began two years ago when Weiland first performed "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" which is included on this album, on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno". The singer says Frank Sinatra's legendary 1957 recording of the song, which featured an orchestra conducted by Gordon Jenkins, inspired his take on this sentimental favorite. Similarly, the album is filled with lush orchestrations punctuated by horns and sweetened with strings, which were arranged by Michael Birnbryer and Jessica Catron respectively. Weiland leads the musicians through timeless holiday standards made famous by the likes of Nat King Cole ("The Christmas Song"), Bing Crosby ("White Christmas" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas"), Perry Como ("Winter Wonderland") and Andy Williams ("The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"). The album was produced by Weiland's longtime collaborator Doug Grean. There are surprises as well, including a reggae version of "O Holy Night" complete with steel drums, a spritely "Silent Night" propelled by a bossa nova beat and a jazzy "What Child Is This?" where Weiland channels his inner Van Morrison.
Lyrics — 7
Two-time Grammy winner Scott Weiland finds inspiration from the iconic songs and singers of Christmases past, putting his signature baritone on some of his favorite holiday classics for "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year". The album also includes the singer's own original holiday song, "Happy Christmas And Many More".
Overall Impression — 8
"The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" is very much a passion project for Weiland. In his note accompanying the album, he writes: "I hope this music, a labor of love from all of us, finds you and touches your heart and soul. For that was the purpose of it. Not just these fabulous musicians but moreover, it was the absolute intent of the original writers, players, and legendary icons from days long gone. I have to pause and wonder... Whether it be Frank, Bing or Nat King Cole himself, are these times really so different? A lot of these tunes were written during times of strife within our country and, in fact, around the world. Whether it be the depression or wartime, when these Christmas messages were sent out to men & women of our armed services in a fox hole or hospital, just as today those brave souls who dare to give it all".