I had a similar experience with this one where once it came out I had already heard almost all of the tracks due to demos/live videos. (for those keeping track at home I believe the total list of demos for this was ATL, See That Side of You (became a bonus track), 3 Kids in Brooklyn, Here Comes The, Vessels, Ships in a Bottle (2 different versions), and Teenage Lust (eventually released on the Here Comes the EP)) It did make for quite the listening experience the first time hearing it.
This was my favorite album of his for a long time, it's got that classic album trick of changing genres with every track and yet still remaining a cohesive listening experience(see also The White Album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, London Calling, etc...) . And Closer to the Truth remains my favorite song of his. A fantastic surprise on my first listen through the album as this was one of I think 2 songs that I hadn't heard any of before the release.
Not too much to add to this one, you really nailed it
Haha, it really does sound like our Butch listening experiences were quite similar. "Ponce," "Weight," and "Closer" were the only songs that hadn't appeared before, and "Weight" was released as a single a few weeks early, so we'd already heard that as well. Those five songs you listed were the Myspace demos and "Going Back," "Summer Scarves," "Passed Your Place," and "Metalheads" were all played live at the Atlanta show, which emerged pretty quickly as a bootleg.
I remember this site posting about the video for The Weight Of Her... and that video got me hooked hardcore on Butch. This album really changed my tastes and altered what I thought music could mean to me. Also, that story about Pink bringing him the guitar and clothes really made my heart swell, I want a best friend like that.
Yeah, hearing that story has made me respect her a ton. That's a kick ass guitar too.
Been really enjoying these reviews Craig, it's been interesting seeing them from a different viewpoint than mine as I only got into Butch around I Liked it better & then delved into everything else from there & then grew into one of my favourite artists.
I'm really glad you've enjoyed reading a long. It's been a lot of work, but a labor of love to be sure, so it's nice to see people responding positively.
This has always been my least favourite Butch record, I just could never get into it. When I first the live recording of 'Passed Your Place.." I thought it was the best song Butch had ever written. It was just so raw, so emotional. The recorded version just doesn't do it justice.
I think he does overproduce this record a bit. He had it almost entirely done, but wasn't happy with it, so he cancelled his tour and went back to do a re-record. I really wonder what that original record sounded like. I don't think it's a problem that impacts every song, but I think it hurts "Passed Your Place" more than anything else. That song is so, so good live, but on record, it's probably my least favorite track. The vocals don't feel as raw as they should.
Exactly my thoughts. The first live version I heard was incredible, but I was so disappointed by the album version. The song had so much potential but I agree that it was over-produced. The album version with just vocals and piano, really stripped down would've been amazing.
I mean, I get what he was trying to do, and that was to make it a Costello song. But it would be so much better as a bare bones electric piano ballad. I also think he overproduced "ATL," though not in the same way.
I just got home from a trip to my local record store where I was intending to blindly pick up a used copy of Letters. I say "blindly" because Butch Walker is one of those artists whom the AP.net community is very fond of, but one that I had never gotten into for whatever reason. His releases just never made it within my radar I suppose. Unfortunately, the clerk informed me that someone had purchased the only copy of Letters they had in stock literally just the other day and the only other album of his they had in stock was Sycamore Meadows. After pulling out my phone in the store to read this review, I decided you had sold me enough to pick it up. About to spin it front to back right after I post this, I'll be back to let you know my thoughts lol Regardless, very well written review man, cheers! \m/