Tod Lippy found time between production of his award winning arts journal, ‘Esopus’, and other projects, to hone his talents in songwriting and home-recording. He’d studied classical guitar for more than a decade, and as each edition of ‘Esopus’ came with a CD of music he’d commissioned, it was probably about time he started making some of his own. Out now is his new single, ‘Ambitions’, which comes from his latest album, ‘Yearbook’, set for release on June 25.
Lippy “started playing around with GarageBand whenever I had a spare minute or two”, and over the period of almost 6 years came up with around 30 demos. He sent a number of these to Dean Wareham, front man of Luna, who connected him with legendary producer and musician Kramer. Together, Lippy and Kramer mixed his debut album, ‘Here We Are’. Recalling the process, Lippy said,
“It was an amazing experience for me. I spent the better part of six years hunched over my laptop in my office, in hotel rooms, even on the occasional airplane, never even knowing if these songs would see the light of day. Kramer knew exactly how to take what I’d given him and create a sound in many cases I could only imagine in my head.”
New album, ‘Yearbook’, is 1o songs long, and the self-released album has taken nearly 2 years to come to life. Initially comprising songs he’d written with Kramer in late 2019, he scrapped most of them after a few months in isolation at the start of the Covid-19 crisis. He says,
“If there is any silver lining to the horrors of Covid, it’s this: I finally had the time and space not only to dive deep into my music but also to fully comprehend my reasons for making it. Nearly every song I wrote in this period ultimately ended up on the album, and all of them come from this deeper understanding of why I need to express myself through music.”
Tod wrote the lead single, ‘Ambitions’, inspired by his senior high school yearbook. In fact, the lyrics come directly from the book, the ambitions each graduating senior had for their lives. The track comes with a music video which was shot one day at his former high school, now closed.
It’s an insight into the positivity of young hearts and minds at the pinnacle of their lives:
To never quit no matter how dark the tunnel is
To always let God have control of my life and to never be too busy to appreciate the things that really matter
To live the rest of my life my way with a smile on every day
To accomplish the goals I’ve made and retire at an early age
To live a long and healthy life
To live it up, one day at a time
Lippy’s breathy vocals, accompanied by the simple piano and horns instrumental, bring a dreamlike quality to the song; we’re left wondering what happened to all those young people with such high hopes and dreams. Did that person retire at an early age? Did that other live it up one day at a time? We’re given pause for thought and contemplation about our own ambitions and life goals: do we stick to them no matter what, or do we change them depending on how our lives are progressing?