First unfairly pegged as a teenage alternative rock novelty due to his fanboy ode to the Lemonheads' Evan Dando, "I Wish I Was Him," and then better known for his long public romance with a certain young Hollywood actress, Ben Lee has quietly matured into one of the best pure-pop songwriters of his generation. RIPE--a fine follow-up to his mainstream breakthrough, AWAKE IS THE NEW ASLEEP--is perfectly named: this is the album on which Lee's generous melodic gifts and trademark sardonic humor reach their full maturity. Highlights include the sweetly goofy "American Television" and the positively joyous "Birds and Bees," a duet with Mandy Moore that's as infectious as Elton John and Kiki Dee's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart."
Uncut (p.96) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "There's whimsy and craft aplenty....Lee is an enflamed romantic at war with cynicism, and his mystical belief in the power of love pervades the material..."
No Depression (p.98) - "RIPE is mighty likable....RIPE seems like an attempt to meet the mainstream head-on."