I was recently asked to write a review for our college newspaper, The Papyrus. Here it is:
I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart
Butch Walker And The Black Widows
One Haven Music
Whether you know it or not, you’ve heard of Butch Walker. Butch Walker has produced albums for artists like Pete Yorn, The Academy Is…, Katy Perry, All Time Low, Weezer, and so many more. My first experience of Butch Walker involved YouTube. My friend called me into his room one night and said “Dude, you gotta check out this video.” (Something that happens frequently on a college campus.) It was a video of Butch Walker walking into the studio, making coffee, peeing, making funny faces into the camera, and recording a cover of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” including a rewrite in the lyrics to match them from a guy’s perspective. I knew after watching this video that this guy was good.
On February 23rd, Butch Walker dropped his newest album, I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart. A lot has happened to him in recent years: the birth of his first child, the loss of his home in the California wildfire disaster, and even turning 40. Life changing events like this are a songwriters dream, especially if you’re someone like Butch Walker.
Walker’s songwriting skill is immediately noticeable from his opening song, “Trash Day.” He paints a very descriptive picture from a layman’s view of Beverly Hills, Nashville, and Atlanta, and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. My personal favorite songwriting lyric is in the final verse of the last song, “Be Good Until Then,” which was written for his newborn son:
Everybody loves a hero
Not so much when they fall short so
Try to keep your cape on underneath
You don’t have to try so hard
To be the best, just know you are
And that’s all that’ll matter to me.
As the album progresses, it seems like the next song is just as catchy as the song before it. Whether it’s a stripped down song with luscious strings like “Don’t You Think Someone Should Take You Home,” or the super catchy and upbeat “She Likes Hair Bands,” Butch Walker knows the music industry well enough to know how to make these 11 songs sound great. Popular music website Absolutepunk.net describes this album as “The Beatles playing in a Nashville bar with Ryan Adams & Electric Light Orchestra while Brian May makes a few cameo appearances.” and I don’t think it could be any better put than this.