This Haunts Me: Puddle Of Mudd's Awkward Return
The post-grunge group's return has been...odd...to say the least
Wes Scantlin is back, and it's weird.
The asinine Puddle of Mudd frontman and his greasy band of misfits actually returned in 2019 with Welcome to Galvania, their first album after a bedeviled decade away. Scantlin's drunken debauchery both on and off the stage had tarnished the group's image by that point, and their puzzling return wasn't warmly welcomed as a result.
Welcome to Galvania peaked at No. 65 on the Billboard 200 its debut week, then disappeared from the chart altogether. Critics tipped their hat to the group's return and to Scantlin's seeming attempt at redemption, but musically the band sounded stale; and, with a reputation so sodden in controversy, a redemption arc in 2019 was a tall order to fill.
But the band's most recent music video for "Just Tell Me" aims to show naysayers that they're trying — that Scantlin is capable of being sober and kind, that the band feels anything...at all. "Sometimes, when I get crazy, all I do is wanna see you," Scantlin whinnies in his pinched Nirvana howl. Later on, he laments: "Sometimes when I get crazy, all I do is reminiscing you." "You're my one and only, song my end," Scantlin mumbles in the second verse. It's hard to note whether the blatantly ungrammatical lyrical are intentional or not, but I suppose it's the thought that counts?
Songwriting aside, the single's pseudo attempt at romance via its music video is hard to swallow in and of itself. Whether it be Scantlin's stiff dance moves at the 50-second mark, his candlelit studio session, or his shredding alongside a massive American flag in an airplane hanger, dissecting whether "Just Tell Me" is satirical or genuine is an all-consuming affair.
There are moments where Scantlin seems in on the joke. He juggles around his earphones during his studio session so much that he seems to be playfully poking fun at the music video cliches of 2000s corny rock and roll past. But then there are moments where he really thinks he's the shit — like when he dramatically takes off his Crocodile-skinned baseball cap and wide-rimmed sunglasses before belting into the microphone: "Breaks me down!" As for Scantlin's recurring love interest in the video – clad in a straw cowboy hat, clammy make-up, and "That's Cool" T-shirt – the nameless woman invites many questions herself.
Look, the overall point is that Puddle of Mudd has returned, and they want you to know that they're, like, deep, or something. Sobriety undoubtedly looks good on Scantlin, but their squirmy attempts at communicating empathy are just really uncomfortable to watch.