Y Not (2010)


 
1. Fill in the Blanks 2. Peace Dream 3. The Other Side of Liverpool 4. Walk With You 5. Time 6. Everyone Wins 7. Mystery of the Night 8. Can't Do It Wrong 9. Y Not 10.Who's Your Daddy

 

When an artist such as Ringo Starr releases a solo album around his seventieth birthday, you really really wish that you could say wonderful things about it. This is a remarkable accomplishment - after all, the guy still sounds like he's in his thirties. Sadly, this is his most mediocre album in over thirty years. To be fair to the guy, no one was really paying much attention to what he was doing anyway. If you happened to pick up this record without having heard anything he's done as a solo artist since, say 1973's Ringo (and there were many that probably fit this description), you would likely shrug your shoulders, find some good things to say about this record, and figure this album was par for the course from a guy like Ringo Starr.

Sadly, this wasn't true about his history. He had essentially been releasing wonderful material ever since 1992's Time Takes Time, so for the handful of diehard followers (again, not many), this record was a big big step backwards. His backup team of writers/musicians, The Roundheads, are now gone, and the partnership he had with them is sorely missed. So in many ways, he finds himself back to square one, and he's reverting, largely, to the old formula of bringing in several guest stars to help him through the tracks. He's behind the production on this album as well, and you can't really blame him for wanting to take a turn at the controls, but the whole album sounds unfocused - the songs going in too many directions and the continuity is basically lost.

With this many guest artists, there is bound to be some good songs, and there are. The most well known is the long awaited duet with Paul McCartney Walk With You. Strangely, as good as this song his, you can't help but wonder if it could have sounded better had more care gone into the production of the song. Let's be honest, if you have a strong hook and someone like McCartney at the microphone, the song will sound good no matter how muddled the track is. Richard Marx contributes a lot to the strong Mystery of the Night, and Peace Dream is one of those perfect Ringo/Beatle songs that reminds us that the dream of peace has never left the surviving Beatles.

Sadly, there are too many low points on this record that engulf the good songs that are here. I guess we need to give up on Ringo ever stopping to name drop and/or sing biographies about his past. The Other Side of Liverpool is basically a companion piece to (surprise) the dreary Liverpool 8 from his last album. Sadly, the lyrics to this one are even worse than on the last album. I really didn't think that was possible. The album really runs out of gas at the end with the hodge-podge Y Not near the end of the album that screams mediocrity, and things only get worse with the duet (with who, I don't even remember) Who's Your Daddy at the end.

Again, you really want to give lovable Ringo the benefit of the doubt and figure that he was trying to come up with a formula that would, you know, sell some records. In that aspect, you can't blame a seventy year old performer for wanting to perhaps change directions.


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