History: By 1982, George had become far more interested in his film production company than he was in the state of modern music. He did however have one more album required for his contract with Warner Brothers, so Gone Troppo was recorded and released, though not heavily promoted by either Harrison or the record label.
My own personal history and initial prediction: Scanning the tracklist I don’t recognize any of the songs on here at all. Honestly, given the state of the last few albums, I feel like I’m just waiting it out until George finally starts working with Jeff Lynne.
Review: This album is certainly not what I would call a bad album. I think I’ve heard more cringeworthy experiences in Ringo’s albums so far than I have here. But uninspired definitely seems accurate. There are some nice sounds and it would make for very pleasant background music. It’s interesting that George wasn’t too interested in contemporary music, because the first track on here, “Wake Up My Love” seems to share the keyboard hooks from Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” which came out later that year. It’s all I could think of while listening to it. The other notable element of the album to me is the background vocals. Not just on his cover of the Doo Wop song “I Really Love You” but peppered throughout. Deep male voices and high female voices feature on almost every song, and it does at least give the whole thing a cohesive feel to it, even if I’m not always sure it works well.
Lyrically I was glad to hear that a lot of the bitterness seems to be missing. He’s still talking about greed and spirituality and the usual deep subjects he prefers, but he’s got a bit more peaceful acceptance about it all. “Mystical One” is probably my favorite on the album, it just hits that right note of George’s philosophy while sounding upbeat and peppy and it’s just a good solid tune. “Dream Away,” which was also featured in the movie Time Bandits (which George produced), is another highlight, its nonsensical lyrics fitting well with the theme. It made me think of his music for Wonderwall and how good he was at fitting that dream mood. “Circles,” which was written all the way back in 1968, is also a great moody number.
The biggest fail for me personally is “Gone Troppo” itself, which kind of sounds like a poor attempt at a Jimmy Buffet song. Beyond that the remaining songs aren’t necessarily bad as they are uninteresting. It feels like George had to fill out that LP length so he just found whatever he could to fit on there and then largely just walked away. We won’t hear anything from George again for another five years, but what a return it will be.
Next Time: We’re getting deeper into the 80s but Ringo is keeping it Old Wave. Get it?