Midlife Crisis Drowns in Superficial Sentiment

Ringo Starr

Y Not

Hip-O

Ringo Starr is too damn busy to write you an autograph.

He’s got too much on his plate — peace and love, folks. He’s busy singing indie-soft over a collection of wannabe chart-toppers. Stuffed with disco synths and sweet, meaningless nothings, it’s hard to tell whether Y Not is a revitalizing sound for the 70-year-old former Beatle or a delayed midlife crisis.

Take duet “Walk With You.” It’s an airy love song with fellow Beatle Paul shoved ignominiously into the background, muddling through predictable rhymes and gimme-an-Emmy sentimentality. After that, we’re in for a barrage of tracks like “Everyone Wins” — peacenick anthems, bizarrely set to Alanis Morissette melodies.

If you can stomach that sugary stupidity, though, Ringo comes through with ZZ Top blues like “The Other Side of Liverpool.” This streetwise track is vintage blues-rock, matching down-on-your-luck lyrics with a wobbly guitar with a wailing organ. It’s a refreshing change, and you can hear Ringo’s smile as he lays down some catchy blues. The ridiculously named “Who’s Your Daddy” is a tongue-in-cheek throwback to “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.,” with soul singer Joss Stone guest-starring as the had-enough liberated woman kicking a deadbeat Starr to the curb.

There are only four blues numbers, though, and Y Not sinks with Ringo’s attempt at the fame game. The clock’s ticking for the septuagenarian, and unless he cranks out more like “The Other Side,” he’d have been better off sticking with Thomas the Tank Engine.

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