Butch Walker
Letters


4.5
superb

Review

by On The Edge USER (1 Reviews)
January 23rd, 2006 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


"I like song writing. I like recording songs. I like performing them. I like doing it. I will always do it. So if you like my shi.t, I will keep putting it out... that last part actually sounds sort of gross"

Sophomore efforts often result in failures. The Strokes Is This It? was hailed as a modern classic with The Strokes setting their sight on the world. But with their follow up album, 2003's Room of Fire, even the Strokes biggest fanboys, magazines such as Q, were unimpressed. The album didn't conquer the world- heck the album didn't even conquer France. This is the story of many artists'second efforts; when most artists try to cling on to the same style of music, the same formula for success. Few make large progressions in quality or style, however Butch Walker is one of these artists.

While Butch's debut album, Left of Self-Centred stayed in the same ballpark as his previous band, the glam-influenced power-pop trio Marvelous 3, his follow-up album Letters is a departure from his previous work. Motley Crue and pop-punk take a backseat as song writing influences such as Elvis Costello and even Radiohead took over.

That's not to say there aren't "fun" songs reminiscent of his past efforts. #1 Summer Jam, Uncomfortably Numb and Lights Out all are uptempo poppy songs, similar to Butch's writing expeditions for artists such as Lindsay Lohan and SR-71. Lights Out is a particular highlight of the more "fun" songs, with its catchy chorus and potential to be a great live song as Butch rambles through the lyrics and a quick guitar solo in less than three minutes.

The only other somewhat uptempo song on the album, the drum-driven Maybe it's Just Me is a instruction book on the art of modern song. Featuring just a few chords, with a few guitar fills in the background and a drum breakdown, Maybe it's Just Me is probably the song that would realistically have the most chance as a single in the modern world of music. This song wasn't chosen as a single however, Mixtape was. Portraying both the somewhat romantic side of Butch; "You say hello, inside I'm screaming I love you" and the stalker-ish side, shown with the video for this song in which Butch is shown breaking into a house and returning a girl's mixtape while watching her sleep.

The real highlights of this album however, are in the form of the album's ballads, starting with the piano-based Joan. Joan displays Butch's storytelling talent, similar in style to that of Bob Dylan, as he narrates the tale of Joan, a woman whose life took a turn for the worse and ended up committing suicide. This song also showcases Butch's vocal talents ranging from the sustained notes of the chorus to the almost-whimpers at the end.

Don't Move shows off Butch's vocal talent as well as his unmatched perfection in the art of the bridge. Just when the song is bordering on repetitive, Butch throws in a bridge that changes up the song, freshens it up. By doing this, he is able to turn a sub-three minute song into a 4 minute plus power ballad, with just a thirty-second break. We are also treated to another guitar solo in this song- I'm hesitant to call it a solo however, because it isn't really a solo. It's more of a break- a change up in the song, and in this case leading up to the bridge.

Best Thing you Never Had is clearly the best song off this album. The second longest song on the album, it showcases Butch's talent in his self-described latest bitter break-up song. From the opening line "Hello, how you doing? What's it like to ruin all my self esteem"to the chorus' "But I can't like someone who thought they're the only one that mattered, while my heart got shattered like romantic road kill"Butch is lyrically at his best. However the highlight of the song is at the 3:45 minute mark, as Butch goes into falsetto and an orchestra comes in, backing Butch's vocal work. Butch is right about being bitter; he sounds pissed off at this stage.

If I had to pick a flaw in this album it would be the 7:43 Thank-You Note. I talked earlier about Butch's mastery of the bridge; something this song sadly lacks. This song however, isn't a bad song- in fact if this song was condensed to about four minutes without some of the opening parts it may well be one of my favourite songs on the album. The best part of this song is at the 7:30 mark Butch lets off a wail very similar in style to Bono's.


While not a particularly groundbreaking album, this album is full of excellent songs, with very few cons and with practically no filler. A promising sophomore album for Butch Walker, as he successfully avoids the sophomore album curse that befell the Strokes.

As you can see this is my first review, so all constructive comments are welcome. Depending on what kind of comments I get, I'll leave you with some wise words from the man himself:

"Either thank you or fuck you"


user ratings (52)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
mark sammut (4.5)
Butch Walker, Thank You....


Comments:Add a Comment 
mx
Moderator
January 23rd 2006


733 Comments


Great first review

Med57
Moderator
January 23rd 2006


1001 Comments


Yeah, really good for a first (and a really good review, period). This is a Butch Walker album I've actually heard in its entirety, and it's not bad. Probably the best he's made, based on what I've heard from his other albums.

On The Edge
January 23rd 2006


27 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys,
I copied it from my word, And I lost the italics and bold, is their a way to add them to this? It makes it a better, easier read in my opinion.
And yes, it's my favourite album by him. Have you heard Best Thing you Never Had? Great song.
His other album (and Marvelous 3 albums) are more 'fun' and less serious, but they have some really great tracks as well.
I'll try review something again soon when I have spare time, just need to find an album that I know well enough.

Glitterati
March 9th 2006


83 Comments


I'm gonna sound like a burgeoning fanboy here, but I see no flaws in this album. I can listen to it all the way through without skipping, and it just gets better every time I listen to it.

timlmonster
April 30th 2006


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

He is one of the most underated artists out today. I'm excited about the new album Butch Walker and the Let's go out tonights!!! Hopefully he will get the support he deserves from the label.

thesheltercrew
July 13th 2007


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of my favourite albums. Such a grower. Butch is probably the best songwriter around at the moment.

MeowMeow
August 23rd 2007


662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I finally got some more BW. I got this and The Rise And Fall.... today. This one's almost as good as Left of Self-Centered.... almost.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2008


2688 Comments


Outstanding record.

thelawler
September 30th 2008


42 Comments


Very good review, I trully did not like this album when I first heard it because it is so different for Butch (or was at the time), But to tell you the truth it is now my favorite Butch album, I love every song, and I love how he does tongue in cheek type of lyrics. Butch is so talented words can't explain, the real highlight of this album is "Joan" just butch and a piano!....5/5

Kisxxoo
November 7th 2008


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

excellent review

VeryPleasantNeighbor
December 7th 2008


272 Comments


Uncomfortably Numb is the definition of "perfect pop song"

tinathefatlard
July 7th 2009


1600 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why don't more people know about this?

shindip
September 30th 2009


3536 Comments


i am interested in this

Ewednesday
August 13th 2010


120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anyone else find the way the record is mixed weird, very vocal heavy?



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