Jim Rippee

Point: Jim Rippee’s vocals waver between rhythmic pseudo-rap, à la the Barenaked Ladies’ hit “One Week,” and earnest alt-rock emoting in the manner of Ed Kowalczyk from Live. Counterpoint: Despite these comparatively modern vocal influences, Rippee performs acoustic power ballads in the vein of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Although he does rock out on the uptempo “Wildcat Brainiac” and inject some mild funk, courtesy of wah-wah guitar sounds, into “Leave Me Alone,” Rippee seems most at home with such tunes as “Time Will Tell,” which brings to mind a stripped-down version of Green Day’s weeper “Good Riddance.” Rippee’s impassioned singing breathes life into otherwise pedestrian numbers, such as “Summer Love,” and enlisting Rainmaker Steve Phillips on guitar adds extra muscle to “Leave Me Alone” and “The Raven.” The latter song features interesting prog-rock-style lyrics about such protagonists as a king with his eyes torn out, a girl who “weeps for all mankind,” and, of course, the titular bird, but for the most part Rippee seems concerned with retelling the trials and tribulations of relationships and distancing himself from privileged “fat cats.” His voice carries “Testify” and “Love 101,” but unfortunately not even Rippee’s best efforts and a chorus of “doot-doots” and “yeah-yeahs” can prevent “Blue Collar” and “Not the One” from becoming faceless modern-rock tracks. On his bio sheet, Rippee promises there’s “MUCH more where these songs came from.” Point: Rippee has established himself as a gifted songwriter, and his unreleased stash surely contains a few gems. Counterpoint: This collection suggests Rippee might do well to tighten his existing arsenal instead of flooding the market with more creations.

Categories: Music