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Butch Walker

I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart

Despite lending his production skills and co-writing songs for a revolving door of pop and rock megastars, Butch Walker continues to save his richest material for himself. Although the title may conjure up emo imagery, I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart builds upon the '70s glam-infused indie rock sound Butch has been keen on lately, flirting with country and folk along the way. And though this is the second album to credit his backing band (The Black Widows, a revamped version of the Let's Go Out Tonites), it's not nearly as raucous as the last one that did so. Sonically, it tends to have more in common with Butch's last true solo outing Sycamore Meadows, though the lyrics here are typically more whimsical. Opener "Trash Day" sounds like a close cousin to Sycamore opener "The Weight Of Her", and every bit as infectious. Other immediate standouts are "House Of Cards" (the best song Jeff Lynne never wrote), and the anti-cynical closer "Be Good Until Then", one of the most poignant pieces of this man's career. Butch still knows his way around a killer hook, but his trump card is never letting it dilute his lyrical wit, or cheapen the song. Perhaps that's what keeps him just slightly outside of the mainstream, but perhaps that's just where his fans want him.


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