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DLC Week of 6/22: The Aces and Ripe

The Aces “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” and Ripe “Settling” prove rock songs can be both kick-ass and cerebral, with both cuts delivering melody alongside thoughtful wordplay. You’ll want to pick up this new DLC debuting Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store!

Indie-pop quartet, The Aces – sisters Alisa and Cristal Ramirez on drums and lead vocals/guitar, respectively, guitarist Katie Henderson, and McKenna Petty on bass – have been releasing alternative rock gems since 2016 and connecting with an ever-expanding fan base. Released in early summer of 2022 and featured on the 2023 LP I’ve Loved You For So Long, “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” is a hooky masterwork that examines awkward teen yearning and unrequited affection. Such relatable subject matter gives this track universal appeal – and it doesn’t hurt that these girls rock with the best of them! Provo, Utah’s finest mine some familiar sonic territory here, but put a spin on the whole thing that makes “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” distinctly their own. 

The group has observed, “’Girls Make Me Wanna Die' is a nostalgic call back to our adolescence and shared experience of being young, queer, and painfully in love with your best friend. Everyone remembers that feeling. So many 'what if's', so much longing. Every single look and touch meant something. We wanted this song to feel desperate and full of youth, so we stripped it down to how everything started back when we were kids, jamming in the basement. Guitar, drums, bass, and a distorted vocal." Indeed, there is an unquestionably lo-fi, garage (or basement!) rock vibe to the cut. Beginning with urgent, overdriven guitar strumming with just the right touch of echo, rapid 16-note bass and backing “aaaah”s join the fray seconds later, and by :10, all of The Aces are part of the picture with snappy drums and smokey, sultry vocals delivering a melodic powerhouse of an intro. At the 49-second mark, the bittersweet – but make no mistake: still catchy as hell – chorus makes its arrival known. Aside from a brief bridge and the addition of some keyboard just before and during the final refrain, the song’s pattern repeats until an abrupt finale at 2:08 (the echo of which goes on for an additional seven seconds), making for an all-too-brief, but satisfying salvo of emotive, melodic rock. You’ll have “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” on repeat for weeks!

Released in Spring of 2022, Boston funk quartet Ripe’s “Settling” is a bright, bouncy track that carries some emotional heft beneath the sing/dance-along nature of the music, itself. At its core, the song is a jubilant salute to the power of horns and guitar. Given that Ripe was formed back in 2011 by a handful of Berklee College of Music students, it comes as a surprise to no one that the musicianship is above reproach throughout “Settling”: precise, technical, deliberate, and flawlessly executed by each member of the band. Starting off with a slightly syncopated guitar line, the track instantly has something of a calypso feel to it. Vocalist Robbie Wulfsohn’s voice is added at around 10 seconds in – a confident, soulful croon that imbues another rich color to the soundscape – followed by progressively more instrumentation until, at :25 we have the band at nearly full power. The beach-party vibes kick into overdrive just under 20 seconds later, with a chorus that is unforgettable and demands sing-along participation. Guitarist Jon Becker, drummer Sampson Hellerman, and trombonist Calvin Barthel are simply on fire, blending seamlessly with Wulfsohn’s pitch-perfect vocals. At the two-minute mark, the horns take the spotlight and “Settling” somehow manages to cook even hotter. We’re treated to a few more go-rounds with the gloriously infectious refrain before the song comes to a close at 3:08. If not already familiar with this one, you’ll instantly understand why it has over 4.5 million streams so far on Spotify. Not bad for a band who once thought “the big time” would equate to someday playing a big house party in Boston’s Allston neighborhood if they were lucky! But what about that “emotional heft” we were talking about earlier? The band – and the world – went through some pretty tough times (there was that whole COVID thing, for one…) since we last heard new music from the fellas and they weren’t inclined to deny that reality. “We lived five more years of life and we went through a pandemic,” states Hellerman. “We went through changes within the band, and we went through some very challenging personal growth as individuals… To any fans out there who just want to hear the joyful stuff, it’s not even like, ‘Tough luck!’, because I want to hear what they need to hear, [too]. But at a certain point as artists, we do have other things to say. Man, it’s been a really tough few years… Now it’s like, ‘Waiting for things to get better/ feels a lot like settling.’ We need to go out there and talk and do something about it. It’s just a very different time and we’re different people.” Hey, personal growth is never a bad thing and with tracks like this one, it’s highly unlikely anyone’s going to complain of Ripe’s ongoing evolution!

The Aces “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” and Ripe “Settling” are both featured in the Season 32 Pass. Grab em today and enjoy the full season of DLC. Both are available for $1.99 each.

  • The Aces – “Girls Make Me Wanna Die”
  • Ripe – “Settling”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 6/22: The Aces “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” and Ripe “Settling”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, June 22nd.