Robert Tepper is “doomed” to be living and recording under the heavy shadow that “No Easy Way Out” casts. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time as millions of people have listened and loved this song but raised the bar so high that there were many who put Tepper into the “one hit wonder” category. That’s the truth. So, when I received the new album for reviewing purposes I didn’t expect much….I gotta be honest with you! The reason behind it was the fact that I didn’t connect so much with his last album “New Life Story” which basically didn’t have much in common with Tepper’s 80s offerings. In such a mood, I slipped the new album on my CD player and I found myself taken by surprise by the sheer brilliance of it! For the next 3-4 hours I was absolutely mesmerized by the quality of the songs and “Better Than The Rest” monopolized my interest throughout that day…and I mean it!
The first half of the album (the first six songs if we want to be precise) is an pristine mix of West Coast AOR with a heavy dose of 80s soundtrack atmosphere. Up tempo tracks that leave you under the impression that you are listening to outtakes of the soundtrack of Miami Vice as the cinematic approach is clear on “Better Than The Rest”…and that’s a good thing! Tepper’s voice is excellent and the overall production is really well-crafted. As for the latter part of the album, Tepper shows us his Rick Springfield meets Bryan Adams side and the final result is again astonishing!
All in all, I’d say that “Better Than The Rest” is a really good candidate for the best melodic rock album of 2019 and marks a superb and much expected comeback by Mr. Tepper! Welcome back!
Highlight: I am sure that if you play such songs as “Testimony”, “Why Does Over”, “Better Than The Rest” to the executives of the hit TV series “Stranger Things” they won’t even notice that they are recent recordings and they will ask to include them in the show.