Ringo Starr Wants To Zoom In  On The Unloving World

“Peace and love” is the defining mantra of Ringo Starr, one of two surviving Beatles. It’s sappy, cheesy, and agonizingly overused, but in all seriousness, it’s a message the world desperately needs. Though there’s a lot to hate, love is, in my mind, the true meaning of life. Keep in mind, I say this having learned it from others, namely the musicians I admire. Ringo, now 80 years old (he really doesn’t look it), is one of many who gather conclusions from a long, rich life. It’s here, on this EP, where the superstar shares his wisdom.

Longtime fans of the artist can guess this release to be another done in “Ringo fashion.” Come for the feel-good anthems, and stay for some more, because there aren’t any deep cuts in sight. That’s sure to anger some of the more analytical listeners, but that’s okay. Music is to be felt, not heard, remember? In fact, with the majority of the songs concentrating on relationships, romantic or not, feeling is exactly what Ringo aims for.

Part of this dominant grouping is first “Here’s To The Nights.” Simple as it is, this tribute to “the nights we won’t remember” returns you to joyous pre-pandemic memories. Call me crazy, but I see nothing wrong with that, nor do I see problems with “Zoom In Zoom Out”: a track spotlighting the importance of social connection, just the same. The track also features seriously thoughtful lyrics that I suggest you don’t let pass by! Take a portion of the chorus, “the distant star is reachable/every moment is teachable/love is what it’s all about.” There’s a lot of truth in these lyrics; you can reach your goals with effort, you will constantly learn from mistakes, and affection is the best remedy to the human condition. The tragedy in this song is the truth in that final lyric becoming forgotten, hence the inclusion of “Not Enough Love In The World.” Up-beat as the tune is, the message is all but celebratory. This is Ringo saying “it’s high time we came together!”

These songs aside, there really isn’t much other wisdom to gain. “Teach Me To Tango” engages with its lively percussive elements… and that’s as far as it goes. “You and I can send postcards from a cabana,” says Ringo, but as a listener, why should I care? That’s a question the song fails to answer. It’s more groove than substance, as is “Waiting For The Tide To Turn.” This song finds the artist restless, which is something I can take seriously, except the entire song obsesses over reggae music, both lyrically and musically. I’ve nothing against the style, however this crack at it doesn’t do it for me. Together, these two songs dilute the EP, making it only a tad above so-so.

For songs of greater appeal, we’re fortunate to have them sound superb. Each element of this recording has a wonderful sense of “weight” to it. Consequently, the reproduction of said recording is both immersive and realistic. The only aspect that disappoints is the ever so slightly “soft” sound to the instruments, though let me remind you that I’m picky.

Despite my high standards, the pressing quality satisfies. The plant responsible for this flat, centered, flawless disc is nowhere stated, though I’ll bet my money we can thank our friends at Optimal Media in Germany. I base this assumption not only by the look of the disc, because that is a thing, but also by the poly-lined paper sleeve that closely resembles the sleeves used in the 2014 Beatles in Mono reissues. All in all, there’s not much to complain about physically or sonically.

Truthfully, my expectations were low approaching this review; I don’t believe Ringo’s solo career rivals that of his former bandmates. I now see the appeal. Ringo offers positive, uplifting music that brings a smile to the listener. It really doesn’t need to do any more than that. To those who’ve been hesitant, like me, to dive deeper into Ringo’s work, I urge that you at least check out the stronger tracks of this EP. This man has no trouble getting by without a little help from his friends.

(Nathan Zeller is a Beatles fanatic and budding audiophile found in frosty Western Canada. Currently, he’s doing his annual spring sorting where he filters through his records for pressing defects. It’s more fun than one would imagine.)

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Anton D's picture

I sometimes chat with my Hi Fi buddies about exactly this sort of topic: "I don’t believe Ringo’s solo career rivals that of his former bandmates"

One way we came up with to play this game is to ask: "If each Beatle were given only one LP to represent his solo career, which Beatle would have the most fun single LP?"

That really boils it down.

Our club has members who will argue vociferously on behalf any of the four!

Thanks for a fun review!

Nathan Zeller's picture

You guys have certainly got a fun idea there. If it's a matter of who's single LP would be the most fun, that would probably go to McCartney or Starr. If it were more about meaning, I'd have to say Harrison or Lennon, probably Lennon in that instance. Harrison has always been my favourite. All Things Must Pass alone disproves the theory that he wasn't a talented writer.

Anton D's picture

Now, I will have to go and actually create the track lists!

ivansbacon's picture

That IS point is it not?, "All you need is Love"

"love is, in my mind, the true meaning of life." All you gotta do is "Act naturally". But "It Don't Come Easy"

Given the current state of the world, "I'd like to be under the sea"

"I suggest you don’t let pass by" I see what you did there.

ivansbacon's picture

Keep up the good work Nathan

Nathan Zeller's picture

I should have come to you when I wrote this review! There's so many Ringo jokes I completely missed, ones which you've listed in your comment.