Butch Walker
Stay Gold


4.0
excellent

Review

by JWT155 USER (6 Reviews)
September 4th, 2016 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Can Butch make gold Stay Gold...

Where does an artist draw the line between paying homage and drawing direct inspiration to craft a piece of art? It’s a mighty fine line to toe. Detractors roll their eyes and scoff insults, chanting words like “plagiarism” and “unoriginality”; meanwhile, optimists see a final product molded from a plethora of influences, which have positively influenced a fresh take on an old recipe. Butch Walker is no stranger to such critiques. Rotating musician in his younger years, key member of a one hit wonder band, a very successful record producer and a solo musician who’s tread water to stay relevant and afloat for nearly one and a half decades, Butch has been a musical troubadour who’s defined his career on his quick takes of the current music scene, ranging from his angst alt rock driven debut in 2002 (Left of Self-Centered) to his most recent effort, Stay Gold. Does Butch sink or swim…

First thing I noticed about Stay Gold is that each song, upon hitting my ears, felt like deja vu, and I mean that in the best way possible. Whether a similar chord progression, selection of lyrics or overall presentation, Stay Gold is littered with the fingerprints of artists past, a smorgasbord of musical influences. The opening track, the self-titled Stay Gold, immediately had me mistaken that I put on Cheap Trick’s 'Surrender', maneuvering between crisp guitar riffs, attitude driven vocal stanzas and an anthemic chorus. Progressing to East Coast Girl, Butch shuffles between spoken word and driving up the temp to Americana inspired melodies, reminiscent of New Jersey’s own Gaslight Anthem. My favorite track on the record is Ludlow Expectations, which begins with an extended intro with motorcycles revving, a girl emphatically counting down from 3 and followed by a track Springsteen would be proud of that reminisces of the Bleachers tune, 'Rollercoaster'. Make no mistake, the album has its ballads as well. ‘Descending’ is a track that would fit finely into Ryan Adams duet tunes as a duet very much in the vein of' Oh My Sweet Carolina', filled with elegant piano work and excellent vocals from both Butch and Ashley Monroe and honest, heartfelt lyrics. The next two tracks, 'Irish Exit' and 'Mexican Coke', could have been recorded in Muscle Shoals after a Rolling Stones recording session circa 1970. Jammed with horns and rhythm, both tunes are bombastic, but contained to accentuate Butch’s vocal performance and maintain a jam session vibe and not a stadium rock sound. Speaking of influences, ‘Can We Just Talk about Last Night’ begins almost identically like Beast of Burden, but I still enjoy that song…. 'Spark Lost' has one of the better choruses of the record, one I’ve found myself singing along with after just a few short days of spinning this record. Stay Gold summates with 'Record Store', a soft acoustic tune that reminds me of The Gaslight Anthem’s Here’s Looking at You Kid, patient, thoughtful and reminiscing of what could have been.

Stay Gold is a record that many may shake their heads at, dismiss, and think “been there, done that”, but I believe Butch Walker has found a new voice in old influences. Where once was a young man spitting out alternative rock tunes of the early 2000’s is now a grown man who’s been molded by some of the best rock influences of the 20th and 21st century. This record is far from inventing the wheel, in fact I could argue the opposite, but it succeeds in finding its own identity, setting itself apart on its own feet through excellent musicianship, lyrics and a great vocal performance by Butch and company. This album will not win awards, or change the landscape of music for years to come, but it’s been on repeat in my car for over a week straight, it’s tunes have been stuck in my mind and there’s no better feeling as a music listen to have a record not only have replay value, be immensely enjoyable, stay in your head hours/days after listening, but also make you want to share it with others. Cheers.




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user ratings (15)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JWT155
September 4th 2016


14596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I post here frequently, see the records that get hyped, commented on, and I feel like I owe it to myself and to others to share records, when I stumble upon them, that I deeply enjoy and feel need a voice here. This is not the greatest record ever, many may even find it average, but it hasn't stopped playing in my car, the tunes are stuck in my head, and I feel like it deserves at least some attention.

flukemmviii
September 4th 2016


30 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

yay Dog Walker

BlackLlama
September 4th 2016


2178 Comments


Can't wait to check this out. I've been a fan of Walker since the Southgang days.

JWT155
September 4th 2016


14596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's a fun record, and I'm honestly surprised how much I've enjoyed it. A solid rock album that has its well rounded share of upbeat tracks and ballads.

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 4th 2016


34960 Comments


Nice review. This struck me as an above average rock record and nothing more, but I did not listen to it more than once.

Digging: Nana Grizol - South Somewhere Else

tinathefatlard
September 4th 2016


1755 Comments


Holy shit Sowing, who is that in your Avi?

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
September 5th 2016


16609 Comments


ariana grande

Digging: Phoxjaw - Royal Swan

Nazzadan
September 5th 2016


2296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was pretty great

JWT155
September 6th 2016


14596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've seen a few live videos from the tracks off of this and they seem to fit really well live.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2016


11978 Comments


Are there any real rockers on this album? I know Butch is getting old and soft...but he needs to bust out dem riffs every once in a while.

Nazzadan
September 7th 2016


2296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man I really actually love this album. This is my fun summer jams record for sure

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2016


12308 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

finally getting around to this, review is great

Digging: Jessie Ware - What's Your Pleasure?

BlackLlama
September 10th 2016


2178 Comments


"Are there any real rockers on this album? I know Butch is getting old and soft...but he needs to bust out dem riffs every once in a while."

It's definitely not younger Butch (or even younger/older Butch). There's some minor edge here, but it apes Springsteen quite a bit.

JWT155
January 19th 2019


14596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still a solid record.



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