History: Ringo started working with a few different producers on tracks to see who he might want to record his next album with, but in the end he decided to keep all of them to put the best songs together on one album. Perhaps most interesting is that these sessions included one song he co-wrote with Paul but decided not to release.
My own personal history and initial impression: The first track and single from this album, “Weight of the World” is definitely familiar to me. It’s one of those just okay Ringo tracks in my memory, not good, not great, but still pleasant enough to listen to. I imagine a lot of the album will be more of the same. I do notice that Jeff Lynne seems to have contributed a lot here, so that should help to make it enjoyable.
Review: Listening to “Weight of the World” again I actually liked it a lot more than I remembered. The production is really strong, there’s a downright Beatlesque guitar riff running through it, his voice is good, and I like the sentiment of the lyrics, the importance of doing our best to let go of our painful memories and worries to live our best lives.
The rest of the album unfortunately lands in the “it’s okay” realm. There’s some nice bluesy rock riffs here and there, and most of it suits Ringo’s voice pretty well, but very little that really stood out to me. On the other hand the only song I really didn’t like was “Golden Blunders,” so it’s not all bad. “I Don’t Believe You” was another one I found fun, that had me thinking of some of the Monkees’ songs at least in places. There’s a lot of backing vocals all throughout this album, and it ends up creating a group atmosphere, of Ringo hanging and playing with friends, which included Jeff Lynne, Brian Wilson, and Harry Nilsson.
Apparently Ringo was having a lot more success around this time with his tour, which doesn’t surprise me. His natural charm combined with the hits he had as a Beatle and shortly after could certainly be enough to keep him going, and throw in a few covers of his favorite rock and roll songs and you’ve got a good set. The bonus song for this album, “Don’t Be Cruel” highlights that, as it’s clearly just Ringo performing a song he’s always loved. I didn’t include live albums in this list, but I do think I may need to at least go give his live albums a listen at some point because I have a feeling they may come off a bit stronger than these more standard releases do.
Singles released around this time:
“You’ll Never Know” – Ringo contributed this song to the soundtrack for John Hughes’ last directorial effort, Curly Sue. It’s got an old time feel to it, and it suits his voice well, though not one I’d probably return to very often.
Next Time: I get to revisit Paul’s Off the Ground and see if its as strong as I remember it being.