on 11 November 2011
I stumbled across a great track called "Vampires in Love" by Marvelous 3 (Butch Walker in a previous musical incarnation) on a video sharing website (who says they're evil?!). From there I reached Walker's more recent material with the Black Widows. Initially I thought their music was just ok...then realised I was seeking it out all the time, and I've been listening to this album regularly since I bought it.
Butch Walker is one of those multi-talented, chameleon-like, very ambitious but not always successful people. Clearly he's doing fine now; but he started in one of those terrible glam metal bands of the late 80s, and turned up in late 90's "post-punk" (whatever the hell that means) band Marvelous 3 (who I heard described as "the best band you've never heard of"); went not very far with that, successfully produced and wrote songs for others. I'd never heard of Walker until a month ago: I never hear him on the radio. My real tastes are probably closer to the punky posturing of the Marvelous 3 stuff, but here he's older; he's mining his past to create what seems to be better and better music as the years go by.
"I liked it better when you had no heart" is really enjoyable, very poppy rock, reminiscent of Fountains of Wayne ("Welcome Interstate Managers") in its articulate dissection of American life and love. There's wry humour, a lot of joy (and guitars, yay) and a little sadness - music for people who remember the 70's and 80's? Walker's slightly reedy tenor works so well for the consistent sound, and if a few tracks are just a trifle too blandly poppy for me, still I play songs like "Hair Bands", "Pretty Melody" and "They Don't Know What We Know" over again like some crazy obsessive. "Hair Bands" is terrific: a laid-back vocal over a wonderful tune; a golden '70s southern rock feel, great feelgood backing vocals and a bittersweet subject.
So why isn't Butch Walker the artist better known everywhere? There's a genre-busting musical playfulness that, from reviews I've seen of his music, seems to alienate fans devoted to certain periods in his history. But it looks like he's been playing the same kind of 70's-inflected, thoughtful guitar pop music for a while now that should appeal to the legions of older MOR listeners. I've started buying tracks from the most recent album, "The Spade", and I'll be following this band with great goodwill. This is what the internet's good for...to even things up a little when the music industry is too busy staring at the numbers.
on 13 July 2015
Butch Walker is a phenomenal singer/songwriter and this album showcases said talents perfectly.
Pretty Melody is one of my all time favourite songs.
If you like your lyrics to have a bit of substance Then look no further.
Butch has a talent for delving into very intimate, emotive work as well as more playful upbeat stuff- you'll find examples of both on this album.
I love this guy's sound and his engaging lyrics. He caters to every mood.
on 23 April 2013
I'd never heard of Butch Walker & the Black Widows, well not until I took my wife to see Pink in concert and they were one of the supporting acts and they blew me away, I just had to search and download an album as soon as I got home. I have not been dissapointed. If you like loud rock music with a small mix of melodies then this will be for you.