Ringo Starr – Y Not (2010)

History: Having severed his relationship with Mark Hudson on the previous album, Ringo largely produced this album on his own, calling back Joe Walsh and Paul and bringing in other artists like Joss Stone and Richard Marx to help him create this album.

My own personal history and initial prediction: The most promising looking track on here is “Walk With You” since it’s specifically listed as a duet with Paul. I also used to love Richard Marx growing up so I’m curious to hear that one too. I have to admit I’m not so enthused by the song with Joss Stone being called “Who’s Your Daddy.”

Review: I feel so much like a broken record but this is yet another just okay release from Ringo. There are some highlights, but for the most part this is an album of okay sounding music and lyrics with good meanings but not necessarily clever arrangements. Not bad, just not really special. The song with Richard Marx is a good example of this. “Mystery of the Night” is a pleasant enough love song and Marx’s backing vocals fit well, but I barely knew it was him singing and the song is largely forgettable once you’re done with it. For the latter half of the album my notes were all pretty much the same – bland music, just okay lyrics. The duet with Joss Stone is really more her taking the lead, with Ringo just coming in for the chorus for the most part. I was at least pleased to see that it’s a song about how the man played by Ringo is no good and when he asks “Who’s Your Daddy?” her response is “Not you anymore.”

There are three songs toward the beginning that make the album more worth a listen to me. “Peace Dream” is an obvious tribute to John, where he’s once again borrowing a few lines of his songs to put together something here. Paul plays bass on it as well. The idea behind it is much like “Imagine” and that alone makes it worth it to me. “The Other Side of Liverpool” is also a nice walk down memory lane, talking about his poor days growing up. Ringo really does strike me as someone who hasn’t forgotten where he came from before his immense success, and it comes off sincere, even down to him giving shout outs to some of the people he grew up with.

If you’re going to check out at least one track, make it “Walk With You,” his duet with Paul. With a bit of age starting to creep into Paul’s voice I feel like the two of them sing even better together now than they did before, and the song was an absolute highlight to listen to. The fact that it’s also a beautiful song about friendship also helps to make it a wonderful thing to hear them together on. I wish they would have made a music video of it together.

Next Time: Paul’s last (to date) classical album, Ocean’s Kingdom.

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