Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, Ben Harper, Joe Walsh, Joss Stone, Paul McCartney, Releases of the Week, Ringo Starr, The Beatles, Van Dyke Parks, Y Not
PREVIEW: VISIT Ringo Starr’s Official Web Page
WE GIVE IT: 12/20
Ringo Starr, a name that needs no introduction, is probably one of the hardest working musicians to date. Y Not, his 16th studio album independent of The Bealtes, features collaborations with Joe Walsh, Joss Stone, Van Dyke Parks and Ben Harper, not to mention fellow Beatle Paul McCartney.
While the album tries to explore more personal and sentimental topics from the artist’s past, it comes off more as a nostalgic revisiting of overdone arrangements and outdated melodies. The overall sound of the album feels like it got stuck somewhere in the 80s, in between the ever-popular synth keyboards and Michael Bolton’s backup sax players. This is not to say that the sound is blatantly bad, it simply feels outdated.
Unfortunately, aside from those shortcomings, the album is also lacking lyrically. Starr has been known for his simplistic yet poetic appeal, however Y Not feels just too oversimplified. It goes into a completely different dimension, especially with tracks like “Who’s Your Daddy” a duet with Joss Stone. Lets just say the title tells you all you need to know about the lyrics. Not to mention that the sound is a crude attempt at merging soulful R&B vocals with “Jailhouse Rock”-style rock-a-billy.
Naturally, the album has its undeniable high points, too. Tracks “The Other Side Of Liverpool” and “Walk With You” (a duet with McCartney) reflect exactly what Starr was trying to accomplish with this release. Both songs have an honest and heartfelt quality that is missing from the rest of the album. “The Other Side Of Liverpool” positively captures lyrical simplicity, while “Walk With You” possesses a perfectly polished melody.
In many ways, Y Not is facing too many challenges. A work of an artist who has spoiled his audiences by being able to endlessly surpass generational gaps, one would expect this album to do the same. Frankly though, the only true fault of Y Not is that it is made for a marginalized audience, rather than to fit the wide appeal Starr’s career has created.