Title - 'Generations'
Artist - Will Butler
For those unaware, in the five years since Will Butler released his debut album, Policy, he’s toured the world both solo and as a member of Arcade Fire, released the Friday Night live album, recorded and released Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Everything Now, earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, hosted a series of touring town halls on local issues, and spent time raising his three children!
But here in 2020, Butler will be releasing his sophomore release under his own name, the quite brilliant Generations (due out September 25th, 2020 via Merge Records).
“My first record, Policy, was a book of short stories,” Butler says. “Generations is more of a novel—despairing, funny, a little bit epic. A big chunk of this record is asking: What’s my place in American history? What’s my place in America’s present?"
"Both in general—as a participant, as we all are, in the shit that’s going down, but, also extremely particularly: me as Will Butler, rich person, white person, Mormon, Yankee, parent, musician of some sort, I guess."
"What do I do? What can I do? The record asks that question over and over, even if it’s not much for answers.”
1. 'Outta Here' (4:46)
2. 'Bethlehem' (3:31)
3. 'Close My Eyes' (4:30)
4. 'I Don't Know What I Don't Know' (3:31)
5. 'Surrender' (3:49)
6. 'Hide It Away' (3:46)
7. 'Hard Times' (3:53)
8. 'Promised' (4:25)
9. 'Not Gonna Die' (5:07)>BR>
10. 'Fine' (6:50)
Generations, which was recorded and produced by Butler in the basement of his home in Brooklyn, with tracking finished in March 2020 (just as New York closed down for the pandemic), opens with the probing alertness of 'Outta Here' and backs that up with the gently frenetic 'Bethlehem' and the comes the pensive at first, brimming yet delicate thereafter, foot-tappin' beauty of 'Close My Eyes.'
The bass-led mid-tempo hand-clapper 'I Don't Know What I Don't Know' is then followed by more of the same, albeit in the more controlled frenzy stylings of the jangly 'Surrender,' which in turn is backed by the precise rock orchestrations, and drummed back bone of 'Hide It Away' and then the fuzzy pop hipsway of 'Hard Times.'
This quite stunning solo album, which was half mixed in Montreal by longtime Arcade Fire engineer Mark Lawson, the other half by Brooklyn-based producer Shiftee, then rounds out with my own personal favorite here, the one-two pop bounce of 'Promised,' the, at first ornate piano ballad, latterly a gorgeously sweeping 'Not Gonna Die,' closing out on the relatable troubadour storytelling of 'Fine.'
Official Purchase Links