My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review – Aaron Tippin – ‘Stars & Stripes’

220px-TippinstripesDuring the sessions for People Like Us Aaron Tippin had a song that for whatever reason was kept off the project. When the album’s final single finished charting, it was just as the nation was gripping with the attacks of September 11. As the story goes, he now new the song was meant for a greater purpose.

In the wake of the attacks Tippin recorded and rushed released the song – “When The Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” – to radio and retail. The track was released as a CD single, accompanied by “You’ve Got to Stand For Something” as the B-side. The excellent number, co-written by Tippin, is one of my three favorite of his singles (along with “You’ve Got To Stand For Something” and “That’s As Close As I’ll Get To Loving You”). I’m still upset it only peaked at #2 as it deserved to be a chart-topper.

It would be a whole year before Tippin would include that track on a full-length project. He would release his eighth studio record (and third for Lyric Street Records) on Sept 10, 2002 again co-produced by Mike Bradley and Biff Watson. Tippin would name the release Stars and Stripes although it wasn’t a full-on patriotic album as the title and cover art suggest ever so misleadingly.

The second (but first official) single from this set was another duet with his wife Thea. Their co-written “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow” was a far more cohesive duet than their last pairing and just a wonderful song. Mrs. Tippin’s voice may lean towards adult contemporary, but she’s a gifted singer in her own right. It only peaked at #35, which is disappointing seeing as it had the potential of being as big as Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black’s “When I Said I Do” two years prior. Two other singles, the disastrously progressive “I’ll Take Love Over Money” and downright juvenile “If Her Lovin’ Don’t Kill Me” hit like the duds they are, peaking outside the top 30.

He slightly recovered on some of the remaining tracks, most notably “I Believed,” which went on to be the title track of an album that was shelved in 2005. The track reinforces the Americana theme of the project:

And the closer that I looked within

The further I could see

And I really didn’t have much other choice

So, I believed

Unfortunately, the rest of the album is subpar at best. Only “At The End of The Day” is even up to his standards. Tippin spends too much time trying to appeal to the tastes of radio thus degrading his sound with progressive beats and licks that are beneath even him. The project is so widely uneven it feels more like a hodgepodge than a cohesive whole. But I guess I should’ve taken my cue from the overly patriotic packaging that represents little to nothing of what’s inside.

Grade: C 

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