Release Date: Jan 31, 2012
Record label: Hip-O
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Rock & Roll
Every Ringo Starr album is a concept album. The concept is: Man, Ringo, what a good dude. These nine buoyant, no-frills tunes could've been recorded anytime in the past 40 years. But they're knocked out with unchanging bonhomie, steeped in the nice vibes he generates with pals like Dave Stewart and his brother-in-law Joe Walsh.
Delivered during the dawning days of 2012, Ringo 2012 is a state of the union address from the beloved Beatle, a brief telegram of all the sounds and sentiments important to Richard Starkey as he begins his 72nd year. Ringo walks the line between the past and present, celebrating the former through the spectrum of the latter, producing a crisp, irrepressibly cheerful dose of nostalgia, one where he covers childhood favorites (Lonnie Donegan's skiffle classic "Rock Island Line" and Buddy Holly's "Think It Over," a version that popped up on the 2011 Holly tribute Listen to Me; "Slow Down" is not the Larry Williams tune the Beatles covered, it's an original with the same name) and revives two old album tracks from the '70s, "Step Lightly" and "Wings," choosing the latter for the record's first single. Take these four cuts away, and there are only five originals left on this 28:50 album, songs about Liverpool, the Fabs, Sambas, good vibes, and peace & love.
It's safe to say that 40 years into his solo career, you know what to expect with Ringo Starr: cheerful, upbeat songs about peace ("Anthem") and wistful nostalgia ("In Liverpool") that sound a bit like the Beatles' later output, albeit with their genius watered down to homeopathic levels. Bolstered by previous big-name collaborators Van Dyke Parks, Dave Stewart and Joe Walsh, his 17th album doesn't deviate wildly from the blueprint. It's all amiable enough stuff, if somewhat inconsequential, with the only real misstep a clumsy version of Buddy Holly's "Think it Over" that never recovers from a spectacularly ill-conceived intro.
The Beatles broke up in 1970 and almost immediately the band’s output was enshrined as the new standards by which other music was measured. The once insurgent music was now the new tradition. For the generations that followed, the Beatles’ songs represented the old and over-praised conventions of the past that needed to be rebelled against. Baby boomers treated the Beatles as God’s gift when they were merely a rock and roll band.