Friday, 17 February 2012

Ringo Starr - Ringo 2012

by Matt Lee

For some people, myself included, this record from the legendary ex-Beatles drummer has been long awaited. From the off, I remembered as to why I used to fast forward the “ringo-songs” when I listened to The Beatles on cassette in the 80’s during my pubescent years. That unmistakeable crap voice, whose opening line to Yellow Submarine will undoubtedly haunt me for all eternity.
That said, I soon found there was something truly captivating about this album, and on first listening, it evaded me, a certain “je ne sais quoi”, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I have to admit though, the more I listened, the more I realised that the most resounding feature of this release was the band and the overall production quality. The band really delivered, creating a very simple yet very stylish backdrop to Starr’s mundane lead vocal and in some cases very dubious lyrics.

Part of what captivated me about “2012” were the very subtle musical references to days long remembered, a tribute to the good old days of John, Paul & George, which I found to be most welcome as audible landmarks, though one has to remember that Starr has more difficulty experimenting with new styles and new sounds than the likes of say Paul McCartney.
‘Samba’ however showed that when you really apply yourself and use your imagination, you can make good music, though after this refreshing groove the album hits its low point.
‘Rock Island Line’, a rock ‘n’ roll track lacking in just about everything a rock ‘n’ roll track should have, a song so dull, that even the likes of Status Quo (at their worst!!) would produce harmonically superior work if they wrote a song with only a single chord.
From this point on, the momentum picks up again, with a mixture of sentimentality fused with imaginative guitar licks, which for me peaks with the last track ‘Slow Down’ which is definitely what I would like to hear more of on a Starr album; a rock/blues track with a good groove, slick backing vocals and a band who are clearly enjoying themselves.

The album in its entirety is just 30 minutes long, which feels way too short, another 3 or 4 tracks would have helped balance things out, but I got the feeling the ideas just ran out.
As a Beatles fan, I am always interested to hear what the two remaining Beatles bring out these days, I just hope Starr doesn’t release a greatest hits album in the near future.

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