Paul Baribeau - Paul Baribeau (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Paul Baribeau

Paul Baribeau (2005)


Paul Baribeau really shouldn't get a three-star review from me. I realize this. I realize that if one was to rate this album based on some objective form of measurement, this album would probably rate on the low end of the scale. The songs are simple. The singing really isn't that great. The similes in the lyrics read like those of a very imaginative tenth-grader. And yet, if you look at the score for this disc, you'll see it did get three stars. Yes, despite full knowledge that this disc probably shouldn't get such a rating, I still decided to award it such a score. And why?

Because that Paul Baribeau is one charming son of a bitch.

That's really what it comes down to. Despite any flaws that one can find on this amateur singer/songwriter acoustic effort, it is the character of the singer himself that will win over the listener every time. I've never met him, never seen a picture or a live video of the guy, yet I can't help but feeling as if he was my neighbour. I mean, if one is to believe the words he's singing about, then the listener knows about almost every life experience of the guy, of every girl who ever broke his heart and the various addictions of his immediate family.

And even though you think a guy might be fairly derivative or limited in his approach when armed with just an acoustic guitar, Baribeau still manages to throw in some surprises. He opens up the disc with only a rhythmic tapping to back up his voice, and there are two other short a cappella tracks to be found on the CD, one in the middle, and one to close out the disc. Baribeau performs both slow and fast numbers with ease, allowing for a lot of variety in expression.

It's hard to dislike such a raw and fun, albeit oftentimes quite depressing, disc like this. Whether singing about an ex-girlfriend making a skirt from an old tablecloth or about that old band whose record he lost, Baribeau's honest and bare-bones approach to songwriting probably wouldn't work as well for anyone else trying it, but somehow he manages to pull it off effortlessly.