Review Summary: The phrase "Y Not" not only is a testament to the album of the same name, but Ringo's entire solo career.
Just for a moment, let’s go back to the late-1960’s. The Beatles, while already a pop-rock sensation, delivered their ground-breaking releases “Rubber Soul,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Revolver,” “The Beatles,” and magnum opus “Abbey Road.” Praised were Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and even George Harrison for their songwriting abilities. Drummer Ringo Starr however, seemed as though he was the black sheep of the band, for he was underappreciated. Ringo’s songwriting is often directly correlated with Octopus’s Garden
and With a Little Help From My Friends
, which were both enjoyable tracks, but did not demonstrate brilliance like many of the tracks on their respective records. When The Beatles parted ways, each member headed for their own solo careers.
Ringo made his solo debut with “Sentimental Journey” in 1970, in which received mixed acclaim from critics and was headlined by the lead single of the same name. Between his debut and the present day, Ringo had released fourteen more studio albums; mostly encompassing the pop/rock genre, but occasionally infusing a country ambience such as his second full-length release, “Beaucoups of Blues.” During his solo career, he also made appearances on a number of television shows and films, solidifying his title as an “entertainer.” Entertainment is precisely what Ringo has been going for with his solo career. To expect anything more than enjoyable and straightforward pop/rock from Starr would be preposterous, for Ringo has never been one to develop anything ambitious or experimental. Starr’s fifteenth studio album “Y Not,” accentuates what Ringo has been all about throughout his life; a solid, but not great musician that was the personality of The Beatles.
“Y Not” is a collaboration with several notable musicians including Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, Joe Walsh from the Eagles, Ben Harper, Paul McCartney, and several others. With the tremendous amount of talent producing this record, one would expect a few tracks at least to be musically outstanding however, nothing appears to be stand out as anything more than pedestrian and rather generic. Providing the record with its enjoyable value are the simple, yet effective guitar solos, and the addition of female backing singers, keyboards, strings, and horns. Elevating the opening track Fill in the Blanks
is the lead guitar, in which brings reminiscence of a standard 1960’s rock song. Fill in the Blanks
is not only one of the record’s most pleasurable songs, but presents the listener a fine indication of what is to expect on “Y Not.” On the contrary, Walk With You
provides the album with a stark contrasting ballad to the majority of the other tracks. Walk With You
is your typical pop/rock ballad, but is delicately developed with a beautiful appearance of strings and outstanding harmonies. In Peace Dream
, Ringo even references John Lennon, in which Ringo sings, “Can you imagine all of this coming true"”
As fans of The Beatles realize, Ringo Starr had the weakest voice of any of the members of the band, although Ringo’s utilization of his voice is both effective and resourceful. Needing not to be spectacular on “Y Not,” Starr excels on Everyone Wins
; a melodic and track, in which Ringo takes full-advantage of even the small amount of versatility that he has. Unfortunately, it appears that a more versatile and dominant vocalist would’ve proved to be beneficial for the record, in order to establish some sort of separation from its generic nature. Tracks such as Can’t Do it Wrong
don’t have much to offer other than the throwback 1960’s feel, and appear to be out of place in 2010. In fact, the album’s first four songs are the where it is most enjoyable, for Time
marks the point at which “Y Not” begins to tire. The title track is nothing more than a repetitive and annoying composition, and Who’s Your Daddy
is corny, yet somewhat humorous. “Y Not” seems to present some intriguing sections of songs and quirks, but really does not match its own opening tracks.
When taken seriously, “Y Not” is a weak and pedestrian record however; tracks such as Who’s Your Daddy
, allude to the seriousness of the matter. Ringo may always be viewed as the least talented Beatle, and possibly a replaceable one however, possessed the tremendous personality that has developed a solid career in the entertainment industry outside of The Beatles. Despite its straightforward nature, “Y Not” features enough variety and musicianship to create a fairly solid, yet forgettable record. Characteristics such as the female backing singers in The Other Side of Liverpool
, and the lead guitar in Mystery of the Night
are a testament to this. “Y Not” may appear to be a safe and somewhat average release to many, but it is unclear that anything more was intended here.
Fill in the Blanks
The Other Side of Liverpool
Walk With You