None of Butch Walker’s seven albums have reached the Top 100 on the US charts. His most recent record, 2015’s Afraid of Ghosts, crawled to 104 with Billboard.
Kinda odd, I think, because they sound authentic and of-the-moment but still seated firmly at the table with their influences. It’s rock and roll. But it’s shiny pop too, sometimes winding their way around each other in the same song. Sugary. Truthy. Hooky. Holy. Smart.
His audience is cult-sized. Those who know and like, well, are glad they know and like, because his music kinda digs in and finds way into a listeners gut. And heart.
Walker, raised in Georgia, has found his success with his producer’s golden-boy touch on records by Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, Pink, Keith Urban, and worked on the new solo record from Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon.
His go-to sound? Layered vocals that build a wall of cotton candy around a bottle of whiskey. A big-and-loud pop sound. It’s also back to the 80’s. FM radio. And AM radio too, full of static and sex.
Not too often that kind of material gets stitched together and heard, like Butch Walker does it, as a big ol’ blanket of 2016 goodness, covering you with a feeling of both nostalgia and like the song may be the newest little treasure that nobody else has found yet.
Walker’s new record, Stay Gold, is due soon. There’s a teaser video out today. And here’s a couple other of my favorites from him (and his recent work with Fallon) to test drive.