Ben Lee - Ripe

I first became aware of Aussie rocker Ben Lee‘s music via the album “Breathing Tornados” 9 years ago1, way before Grey’s Anatomy ladled out Catch My Disease for global consumption, and since then he was always one of the artists whose releases I would anticipate. I can’t say that I like all of his songs — there are a few that I just don’t get — but I like the earnestness of his music in general, and in my opinion the albums “Breathing Tornadoes”, “Awake is the New Sleep”, and “Hey You, Yes You” have produced some really good pop rock gems.2
So anyway I was able to get an advance copy3 of his 2007 album “Ripe” (slated for release on September 18, er today) and was pleasantly treated to what I think is his BEST work to date, I kid you not4. Lyrically and melodically, none of the melancholy in his previous, post-Claire album is present and what you will hear is a chirpy Ben, singing happily away about what might be mundane to some — the birds and the bees, American television, Jay-Z, and love sweet love — but with an apparent depth and soulfulness that merits repeated playbacks. Like the title implies, he demonstrates that he is indeed “Ripe”: now less experimental arrangement-wise, riskier lyrics-wise, and obviously ready to offer his heart again. Yet, like anyone who’s been hurt, he exercises caution:
So say you’ll stay
Promise I won’t go
There’s just one thing
I really need to know
Is this how love’s supposed to feel?
Is this how love’s supposed to feel?

“Is this how love’s supposed to feel?”
But submits to his heart in the end.

I’m tired of being alone
I wanna take you home

It’s a feel-good offering and a great album to play over and over (like I’ve been doing this past couple of weeks) while working or driving5.
My personal picks are Numb, Ripe, Is This How Love’s Supposed to Feel, Birds and Bees — a cute duet with, gasp, Mandy Moore!, the very catchy What Would Jay-Z Do? and Sex Without Love, and the impossibly romantic Home and Love Me Like The World is Ending.6
On that note, why don’t I leave you with a video of one of my favorite tracks.

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  1. aka the Claire Danes years[ back]
  2. Some of my favorites in no specific order are No Room to Bleed, Gamble Everything For Love, Away With the Pixies, Cigarettes Will Kill You, Pop Queen, and We’re All In This Together.[ back]
  3. Sigh I love the internet.[ back]
  4. That is, if you like happy music like I do. 🙂[ back]
  5. or, say, whiling away time at Facebook.[ back]
  6. Gadzooks, I almost wrote down the entire tracklist. That’s how much I love the album.[ back]