Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: Andrew Ripp “She Remains The Same”

Chicago singer/songwriter Andrew Ripp returns with his sophomore set, “She Remains The Same”, which follows his impressive debut record, “Fifty Miles To Chicago” (reviewed here). Also returning is that soulful rock and pop voice, sounding like a cross between David Mead and Jason Mraz.

Ripp sounds a little rougher and tougher on this outing, largely due to the raw rock edge coating several of the songs. The talented vocalist is well suited to this terrain and it hasn’t diminished his capacity to shine on ballads as well. “She Remains The Same” gets off to a fiery start with gritty rockers like “Growing Old Too Young” and “Savior”. Lead off track “Growing Old Too Young” is my instant favorite, encapsulating Ripp’s full potential and hitting all the radio-friendly buttons. “Star” is another likeable tune that I can imagine getting lots of airplay. The middle of the record, however, is weighted down with many slower, sleepy tunes. Bunched together like this, it makes going through the center a bit cumbersome. The exception is “Rider”, a murky and haunting song that has an enticing melody in the chorus that is well sung. The grit comes back in “When The Deal Goes Down”, but the choppy arrangement was a deal-breaker for me. “A Reason To Breathe” resuscitates the record briefly, but I did not enjoy much of anything else until the closing track. “Forever After Love” is a bare bones acoustic piece that lets Ripp’s vocals shine through – a tender song, beautifully sung.

“She Remains The Same” is a strong record, but doesn’t reach the high bar set by Ripp’s remarkable debut. Great performances, quality lyrics, but generally unexciting songs.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 6, 8, 11

Andrew Ripp on MySpace. Official site.

Check out a video for “You Will Find Me”: