CD Review: Butch Walker's latest gets the party going

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Butch Walker is perhaps one of the most famous people you’ve never heard of. He was proclaimed “Hot Producer of the Year” by Rolling Stone magazine last year. It’s no wonder—he was responsible for crafting major hits for Avril Lavigne, The All-American Rejects and Pink, among others.

Walker has also made his presence felt as an occasional judge on the recently (and mercifully) ended CBS show, Rock Star: Supernova. And while his talents on the television and behind the mixer are worth pointing out, it’s his prowess with a microphone that should earn him the most respect.

The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites! is a not-so-subtle homage to David Bowie and his 1972 release The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. And while the album titles are similar and the musicianship is comparable, Walker has avoided creating an actual concept record (sorry, no androgynous alien rockers here). Instead, Walker sticks to what he knows: Shimmering pop hooks, a healthy array of guitar sounds and tongue-in-cheek wordplay that would leave even the cleverest of poets stumbling.

The result is a fresh breath of creativity in a music industry that rarely rewards artists so obviously going against the grain of current pop trends.

“Bethampthetamine (Pretty Pretty),” “Hot Girls in Good Moods” and “When Canyons Ruled the City” highlight a disc filled with tracks sure to inspire good times and drunken sing-alongs.

But his latest effort is hardly the Georgia rocker’s best. Rise and Fall is a dramatic departure from Letters, Walker’s highly impactful, though occasionally gloomy, 2004 effort. With all of that said, if you’re looking for background music that will keep the party going or provide the fuel to help get it started, Rise and Fall has to be a top choice.

From the Oct. 4-10, 2006, issue

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