Review: Robert Tepper – Better Than The Rest
AOR Heaven (September 27th 2019)
Reviewer: Stephen Brophy
Most people will remember the song ‘No Easy Way Out‘ from the Rocky IV movie, but perhaps be unaware that the man behind the song was NJ born songwriter/singer Robert Tepper. That was a pretty big hit at the time and has continually received airplay over the yeas, especially in Europe where there were many different genre mixes of the song that kept airplay going. Continuing both recording and writing, although album releases have been a bit sporadic, his work mainly consisted of writing for TV/Film, so it’s great to see a new album of original material almost seven years since the last release.
‘Better Than The Rest‘ brings us 11 songs mixing styles, mostly Rock, some more pop orientated and a definite mix of keyboards/electronic sounds, what is consistent throughout though is an upbeat punchy feel to the tracks, excellent vocals and music that suits each of the compositions, from the screaming solos littered around the title track to those back beats on tracks like ‘Tell Me You Love Me‘.
There is something very calming about the music on this album, hard to put your finger on why, but listening to if over the last couple of months and it just has that ability to remove some of the stresses and strains of life, that alone is a brilliant trait. It may not be an in your face style release, and in places perhaps a little too laid back, but it’s certainly not a criticism.
Highlights on this album are opener ‘Why Does Over (Have To Be So Sad)‘ which sets a nice scene, has some great backing vocals leading in and it’s just one of those tracks and has you coming back for return visits, ‘Show Me Where The Light Is Going‘ which has an almost Van Halenesque opening, not as frenetic or heavy perhaps, but a nice solid riff right through the middle with a really solid rocker wrapped all the way around it, and the terrific closer ‘You Know Just How You Feel‘ which provides an excellent ending to this chapter of Robert’s story. This one just builds as it progresses, a really strong track and lifts as though it may power on to be something more aggressive, but then gets pulled back to a more emotional place, was not what I expected but works damn well.
The reality here is that Robert Tepper continues to be an excellent songwriter, with some excellent tracks in the mix on this album, it’s great to hear new material and we will hopefully see him back on the road in the UK soon. If this one passed you by on release then do yourself a favour and pick it up over the Christmas period, great mix of Rock, a little Country/Americana in places and just overall good music. Would definitely be nice to here some of these tracks live. Perhaps it’s not better than all the rest but it’s certainly better than a lot of releases these days.