Introductions: Six Butch Walker Essentials

Six must-hear tracks from the steady producer/musician


Butch Walker is equally as prolific of a producer as he is a musician. While his day job entails of producing and writing tunes for the likes of Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, Taylor Swift, and even P!nk, he moonlights as an active performer and songwriter. Walker got his start playing in hair metal bands during his teen years, one of which– Southgang– went on to drop two major label releases in the early ’90s. His next successful musical project, Marvelous 3, scored a late ’90s radio hit with “Freak of the Week.” Since then, he’s devoted his time to producing and releasing music for the likes of his solo career, making records on his own as well as with the backing bands The Let’s Go Out Tonites and The Black Widows. While the longtime singer songwriter is gearing up for his next solo full length Afraid of Ghosts, the followup to the 2013 EP Peachtree Battle which takes a bare bones acoustic approach and even features the musical talents of Husker Du’s Bob Mould and the beloved actor Johnny Depp, it’s no better time to dig into Walker’s catalog. Here’s six must-hear songs released by this eclectic and often underappreciated musical icon.


Pretty Melody (I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart, 2010): One of Walker’s most wide-reaching tracks, “Pretty Melody” is an assertively cinematic song balancing bold orchestration and red-hot kick drum percussion with traditional rock instrumentation. The end result is something that sounds nothing like any of Walker’s other material, but instead stands out as a distinctive, gracefully adorned song that doesn’t hold back a single shed of charm. Boasting the blazing hook “You’re such a pretty melody/I’m just another tattooed tragedy”, “Pretty Melody” is sure to have your foot going and mind racing with grainy fantasies of sweeping pretty-somethings off their feet.

Closest Thing To You I’m Gonna Find (The Spade, 2011): An illustrious, country-tinged song about settling for something less, Walker narrates the struggle of suppressing the memory of a former lover by “…Staying another night by this fire and drink[ing] some wine” and “…Pick[ing] back up the cigarettes only for a night” through bare-bones verses and explosive choruses of humid, Southern charm. The Spade, Walker’s second record with the Black Widows already spins like a greatest hits collection, and “Closest Thing To You I’m Gonna Find” resembles the sensational single that just got lost within the melodic storm.

Bethamphetamine (pretty pretty) (The Rise and Fall of… Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonites, 2006): All clever titles put aside, “Bethamphetamine” is a strung out rocker that spotlight’s Walker’s ability to write vehement rock ‘n roll that’s pleasing to purists as well as radio-rats due to it’s hook-heavy nature.

Bed On Fire (Afraid of Ghosts, 2015): One of the best singles off Walker’s upcoming, stripped down LP Afraid of Ghosts, “Bed On Fire” is an open wound of heartache played through a battered stereo. Walker’s pleading, desperate vocals are enriched through an arsenal of minor chords and orchestration, as he sings forlorn lines like “A puddle of my sweat you’re standing in/A water of my sin.” Everything about this song begs to be felt, from Husker Du’s former frontman Bob Mould’s emotionally screeching solo on the bridge to the buzz of the analog tapes the song was recorded on.

Coming Home (Peachtree Battle, 2013): The 2013 EP Peachtree Battle was written predominantly about Walker’s soon-to-be dead father, and the cut “Coming Home” is a spirited alt-rock reflection of Walker’s life, contrasting his issues and regrets to his hometown and it’s undying, wholesome charm just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Synthesizers (The Spade, 2011): With the EDM horizon upon us, certain artists must distinguish themselves from music’s computerized revolution. In “Synthesizers”, Walker doesn’t just continue with his crush on rock ‘n roll; he upright protests electronics in music and asserts himself as a crusader for musical purism. Boasting a clever concoction of keyboards and percussion on the verses that may come off as ‘too-smooth-to-be-manual’, he sings: “Everybody’s writin’ songs with synthesizers/But I don’t have a synthesizer/I can still get down like Duran Duran in 1985.” The rest of this cut is just a doozy of old-souled charm that you can not only dance to, but preach to in protest of modern musical conventions.