Afraid of Ghosts
A high-level pop producer and “song doctor” whose client list includes Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, and P!nk, Butch Walker can seemingly write in any style he chooses. With The Marvelous 3, he hit in 1999 with “Freak of the Week," but his solo career has mostly settled for critical praise. Walker is now friends with Ryan Adams, who produced this set at his PAX-AM studio. The result is an album that sounds like the two of them blending into one person, with all the acoustic pathos (“Still Drunk”) of Adams’ best work colored by Walker’s songwriting expertise (“Chrissie Hynde”). It's less overtly catchy than expected, but there are gorgeous ballads throughout.