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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Ben Lee
Ripe
New West

Rating: 3/10 ?


September 21, 2007
An album title couldn't be more inaccurate than this one.

Frankly, at this point in his discography one would think singer/songwriter Ben Lee would show himself to be a bit more seasoned. After all, a few albums into a career with minor-to-decent success usually finds an artist showing signs of renewed life and growth, shedding old formulas and establishing themselves with new ones as creatively viable for the long haul. Yet Ripe only shows an artist that is anything but renewed or growing.

Sure, a pulse can be found in various places: the uber-catchy hook of "American Television" and the near-mint musicianship found on "Is This How Love's Supposed to Feel?" are two throbbing lifelines. The latter serves as evidence of Lee's potential, but even the strongest admirers of his craft are bound to get tired of believing in the universal barn burner that never quite shows up.

Instead of infectious innovation, on Ripe the audience is served a mostly useless platter of fluff pieces ("Birds and Bees"), wittiness minus the wit ("What Would Jay-Z Do?"), and hooks that flail aimlessly through the air around them ("Numb"). Gathered around Lee on the album is a frustrating roll call of underachieving musical students who waste their impressive talent, especially that of Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins. Also present are Mandy Moore and Benji Madden (Good Charlotte), but again it's amazing that Lee could get anyone to bite down hard on this project in the first place.

So while others are blooming around him, Ben Lee continues to simply be the budding talent that can never quite open enough to showcase what could be there. And with each passing album it becomes easier to question whether 'it' was ever really there in the first place.

Reviewed by Matt Conner
A contributing writer, Matt Conner lives in Anderson, Indiana.

See other reviews by Matt Conner

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