FILE UNDER: FREEWHEELING AMERICAN ROCK
ROCKS LIKE: Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams, the Gaslight Anthem
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: Walker’s eighth full-length comes on the heels of 2015’s Afraid Of Ghosts, a heartbreaking album centered on the death of his father. The ebullient songs on Stay Gold lean more toward the bratty fun of 2011’s The Spade: Walker’s imbued each with remarkably nuanced and precise storytelling details, from the cheeky double entendre “Mexican Coke” and the Asbury Park anthem “Ludlow Expectations” to the uproarious Celtic-specked rocker “Irish Exist” and gorgeous country-laced ballads (“Descending,” “Record Store”). You get the sense some of the names and stories have been changed to protect the guilty—maybe even Walker himself—but what’s rock ‘n’ roll without a little rule-breaking?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: The chameleonic singer/songwriter has tried his hand at power pop, arena rock, glam rock and alt-country over the years, but the sound on Stay Gold is what suits him best: heart-on-sleeve Americana that’s equal parts earnest and exuberant.
OUR PICK: “Ludlow Expectations”