Ringo 2012

Ringo Starr

Universal, 2012

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/14/2012

I sometimes wonder where Ringo Starr would have ended up if he had joined some other band instead of The Beatles. He is well known as The Beatles’ drummer and scored some moderate success as a solo artist in the ‘70s, but he always lacked the songwriting acumen possessed by John and Paul and even George by the end of The Beatles’ period. The other guys would toss him a few bones here and there, but mostly his job was behind the kit.

Now the oldest of the Beatles offers my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ringo 2012, whose name is intended to be an homage to the successful early ‘70s record Ringo, which cemented his place as a solo artist. Unfortunately, this record has little of the power of its predecessor.  Ringo sticks to comfortable themes of peace and love but the overall performance is flat.

Ringo kicks off the album with an "Anthem" for (what else?) peace and love, which starts out with a rhythm that is incredibly similar to "Glass Onion" from the White Album. I half expected to hear John Lennon come in with nonsense lyrics.  But it turns out to be essentially the same thing for five minutes with no real change for the listener. That is pretty much the problem with the entire album. Ringo has an extremely limited vocal range, so his songs, unless they have an incredible hook, can become monotonous. Other tracks like "Rock Island Line,” "Wings," and "Step Lightly" epitomize this.

Ringo comes close to his old self with "Wonderful," which breaks him out of the monotonous melodies and brings out a great song with a good message about a long time love.  This is arguably the best song on the album.  He also gives us a redone Buddy Holly number "Think It Over" that has some Beach Boys sounding background vocals.

The aging Beatle also takes time to reminisce with "In Liverpool,” an autobiographical song about his rise to stardom. It is quite poignant, and it is tough to listen to without the familiar black and white videos of early the Beatles playing in your head. But again, would you even be listening to this song at all had Ringo decided to not join The Beatles at EMI that day so long ago?

Ringo 2012 is pleasant enough, but it comes off as an old guy still trying to live his youth. It is good to still have elder statesmen of classic rock like Ringo around, but when they produce an album at this age, the expectations are very high. The product should match the luster of the career.

Rating: C-

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