Producer and songwriter Butch Walker has his most personal record yet with “Afraid Of Ghosts.” Walker is most known for the rock and pop hits he’s written and produced. Some of his clients include Fall Out Boy, Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, and P!nk. He also has written and produced some hit country albums and songs. While this is what he’s most known for, it’s his subtle yet hauntingly personal album that has the most to say about who Butch Walker is as an artist. His vocals have a soft tenderness quality but it’s incredible to hear how he can dive into his falsetto which is something few male artists can do.
This is the album’s lead single and it’s a folk/indie inspired song that is very catchy. After listening to this song once, you may think it’s just a really pretty sounding song. After close inspection at the lyrics, it’s obvious the track is dark and depressing. The lyrics tell a story about a man driving around town listening to The Pretenders on the radio wishing he would’ve been a better husband and father. He finds that it’s too late and is now waiting to be hauled off to jail where he will be serving a lengthy sentence.
The inspiration behind this album was the death of Walker’s father. This loss that the musician experienced is much revealed within the subject matter. Even though many of the songs function as a story about the man going to jail, it’s also a personal story about Walker’s relationship with his father.
“Into the dark with my father at my side,” sings the artist in this album closing ballad. It’s a reflective track about happy memories that he shared with his dad which is a hopeful way to end this depressing album.
When you think about it, it’s impressive how many stories he’s able to pack into these ten songs. He talks about love in a way that doesn’t come across as cliche or corny but instead is a genuine look at love through the eyes of this storyteller.
Bed On Fire is a seductive song that Walker uses tons of falsetto that adds a sensual tone. However, the song feels out of place on this album. I’m not sure where it would be within the fictional story these lyrics tell or if it’s just a portion within his own life. What matters is that the song works because he’s such an awesome songwriter and it doesn’t matter whether it’s cohesive or not, there’s still an intriguing story being told.
This album is filled with imagery and dialogue. He’s created various different characters but he also tells his own story as well. It may seem weird that he has several songs from the point of view of a guy in jail but that’s just a big part of his artistry. Butch Walker is his own artist. He may multi task as producer, guitarist, and songwriter for other big named artists, but it’s clear he belongs as a solo artist as well. I definitely recommend this album for anyone that loves good quality lyrics, catchy guitar riffs, and indie/alternative music in general.
Review written by Rachel Geiger