|Butch Walker Letters||Epic Records|
I left my review of the new Butch Walker opus for some time to guarantee I had my head fully around it and viewed it in the best intention of its maker.|
Butch is a sensational songwriter, no question. He is also an accomplished musician and producer. I never had a lot of time for Southgang, but adore Marvelous 3 and Butch's first solo album – not to mention the work he has done with other artists.
I guess the whole point of a solo album is to do whatever one pleases and Butch made no secret of the fact this album was written and recorded as something he wanted - and needed to do.
No surprise then to find the album is quite a departure from what fans would normally expect from Butch. This is a very personal, very insightful collection of intimate songs which are largely very relaxed and stripped right back.
You can't fault the song quality here – more twisted lyrics, personal insights and all the intelligent musical twists we have come to expect from Butch. However, the pace of the album and the laid back style which sees Butch virtually desert his traditional bombastic delivery will give some fans cause for concern.
Yes, this album contains some fine songs, but it also contains a few fillers, which is new territory for Butch.
Some track highlights include the brilliant pop of Maybe It's Just Me, which isn't far off Butch's usual style, albeit more laid back.
Mixtape is another good pop song, with a cleaver lyric, while #1 Summer Jam is about as openly pop as it gets.
So At Last is a very intimate track which features a haunting vocal, but its hypnotic nature does threaten to send some fans to sleep.
Uncomfortably Numb is probably the album highlight for me – a brash 80's style pop rocker in the same stripped back feel of the album as a whole.
Next track Joan is incredibly slow and is where the album begins to lose me. Don't Move continues the slow pace, but is a decent ballad.
Lights Out is an intriguing pop rocker, but still doesn't quite ignite my imagination.
Best Thing You Never Had is another ballad which duplicates what has already been delivered with Don't Move.
Race Cars And Goth Rock is another breezy pop track with a slightly odd sound. Interesting, but not a killer.
Promise, like Joan, is incredibly slow and devoid of any major hook to guarantee repeat listens.
Thank-You Note is a nearly 8 minutes in length and is fairly adventurous bit of music, but the slow start and the inclusion of other slow songs diminishes it's impact.
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