Back in 1973, beloved ex-Beatle drummer Ringo Starr released “Ringo,” which featured appearances from all of his former bandmates and several members of his eventual All-Starr band, and which remains the signal work of his solo career.
From its title down, “Ringo 2012” is meant to induce nostalgia for “Ringo” and for Ringo, a musician of limited range and endless charm who doesn’t have to do much except show up, pound the skins a little and wink knowingly at his audience, which is pretty much what happens. Despite the throwback album title, you can guess which era Starr is really nostalgic for, and it’s not the early 70s.
“In Liverpool” charts Starr’s English childhood, which can be summed up as: It rained a lot, and then he met the Beatles (”Me and the band/Living our fantasies/Breaking the rules, acting like fools/That’s how it was for me.” Pause. Wink. “How was it for you?”). “In Liverpool” may be goofy and overly self-referential, but “2012” could use more moments like it.
Starr and his backing team (including sometime members of the Eagles and the Heartbreakers, and the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart) otherwise content themselves with oldies covers and genial up-tempo pop songs of uncertain vintage. Everything has that dated, hermetically sealed quality common to albums made by lapsed superstars and old school session musicians.
Among the sweet, inconsequential originals are two covers of old Starr songs, including a new, not appreciably different version of “Step Lightly” from the original “Ringo” that is as amiable as it is unnecessary.
— Allison Stewart
“In Liverpool,” “Think It Over”