Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An ode to Butch Walker. And you love it.

So..Butch Walker. He’s great, isn’t he? Don’t’ believe me?
I realize why you love Butch Walker and I apologize for not seeing it sooner. It’s pop music for grown-ups, and you don’t have to be embarrassed liking it.
That came from a dear friend who may or may not be involved with this particular blog. For years, he dismissed the songwriter as someone way too slow or faux-indie for him. Now, well, you see the quote.

Me? I love Mr. Walker. He’s poetic in a cynical way, and if you had two words to describe my life, they would be “poetry” and “cynicism.” And he’s angry. Who can’t relate to some good, old-fashioned teenage angst sprinkled with sarcasm? Honestly, though.

I can’t be the only one in the world who can relate immensely to his music, and I know I most definitely won’t be the last. But that’s what makes him likeable to any casual music fan. It seems hard to root against him, and considering he’s seen it all – from a self-described one-hit-wonder to a ton of critical acclaim – the Georgia native seems to be a good enough candidate for someone to look to when it comes to popular music these days. I mean, come on. He’s written for everyone from Pink, to The Academy Is, to Kelly Clarkson, to everyone else you could possible find in between.

And that’s where this post comes in. What are his five best solo outings? Keep in mind, you must exclude songs written for other, more popular artists, and keep in mind that anything from the Marvelous 3 is out (though it is a shame to negate “Freak Of The Week” and “Grant Park”). But let’s be honest. He’s the quintessential “still cool to like, not cool to love” artist. Sure, the guy is kind of credible, but to those who scoff and hold their noses high in the air for anything that could even approach mainstream, he’s probably yester-week’s news. So, consider: What are the five best songs Butch Walker has been involved with while only being involved with himself? We thought we’d take a look…

5. Mixtape – Come on, now. What about this doesn’t scream fabulous? A piano. An acoustic guitar. Low-tuned drums. A whispered voice throughout the verse. All you need is a box of tissues, and you have this listening experience complete. Guy or girl, you’re lying if you’ve never been there.
Best Line: “You drive away from my car crash of a heart.”

4. Best Thing You Never Had – It’s an anthem. Throughout a song definitely made for arenas, this track has heartbreak down to a T. Why is that? It’s the dude’s voice. By the time the bridge comes around, all you want to do is hug him, though you know he’d be way too pissed off to come in contact with.
Best Line: “Like the toilet seat never got lifted. I pissed on your confidence when you weren’t around.”

3. Joan
– OK. We know this list is “Letters” heavy so far, but my God. Once saw him perform this in a room full of around 70 people, and it couldn’t have been more moving. If you can’t relate to this particular song in any type of way, then you’ve never lived a life and something needs to be changed right about….now.
Best Line: “And the last letter said that she had to get out, but I couldn’t make out the rest of the note. From the blood stains all over the page of the letters, there’s a lot of learn about Joan.”

2. Going Back/Going Home – Oh, who are you kidding? If you are anything over the age of 23, you should be able to put this record on and feel instantly better about who you are and what you’ve become, as unsuccessful as you may be. It’s everything you expect from Mr. Walker: A story told with a chip on a shoulder with pessimism unparalleled by anyone.
Best Line: (Aside from the bridge, where his cadence switches to perfection) “She tells her son she did the best she could, as she buries dad. Maybe he’ll grow up to be a man, unlike his father did.”

1. Lights Out – Quite possibly the most tongue-in-cheek track he has ever recorded (and believe us, that says a thing or two), this is a clear shot at what has become most any attractive person out there. Throw that in front of an upbeat, rockabilly-ish groove, and what you have is one of the best f-off tunes ever. Yep. We did say that. Ever.
Best Line: “I’m feeling kind of bored, so let’s go charge up the car. Let’s all put on those trucker hats, and head out to the bar.”

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