Beatles legend Ringo Starr released his twentieth solo album on Oct. 25, 2019. “What’s My Name” features an array of moments that will make any Beatles fan swoon as well as some unsurprising filler content.
Starr opens with “Gotta Get Up to Get Down,” a fun collaboration with Joe Walsh. Walsh, a member of the Eagles and fellow rock and roll legend, is also Ringo’s brother-in-law. The track opens with Starr’s legendary drumming and is soon joined by Walsh’s brilliant guitar riffs. In this track the brothers discuss social media and the internet. I will admit that it is quite the experience to listen to two men who I prefer listening to on vinyl say, “everybody’s on Facebook, doing their thing.” However, the track is upbeat, catchy, and fun, and I am in awe of the instrumentals.
Another stand out moment on the album is Ringo and Paul McCartney’s cover of John Lennon’s “Grow Old with Me.” The two remaining Beatles come together for a beautifully simple tribute to their late bandmate who did not have the privilege of growing old. Paul McCartney’s gentle voice over the soft instrumentals is enough to warm the heart of any Beatles lover.
The lyrics in “It’s Not Love That You Want” mimic those of Beatles classic “All You Need is Love,” while “Magic” has a subtle Beach Boys vibe. “Magic” also has an irresistible guitar outro.
“Money” is one of the tracks that feels misplaced on the album; it is one of the few songs that Starr does not have a songwriting credit on. There is no point in one of the most successful and wealthy people in the world to be singing, “give me money; that’s what I want.” This Cardi B moment was definitely off-putting for me.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the later half of the album is filled with b-side quality songs. “Send Love Spread Peace” is exactly the kind of work I would expect from Ringo in 2019. Tracks like “Better Days” draw you in with their catchy instrumentals, but are forgettable in comparison to the Beatles’ masters and Starr’s earlier solo work. While these songs do not have a leg to stand on in the modern pop charts, I firmly believe that their similarities to the music styles of the early 1960’s would have made this record a hit at that time. Starr stays true to pre “Rubber Soul” era Beatles; however, knowing that he has clearly evolved as an artist and a person since he was in his early twenties, it is not unreasonable to expect more from him.
Every song on this album makes me want to dance, and even though not all of the songs are of the highest quality, it is touching to see Ringo still enjoying making music this late in his life. This album will have the same legacy as any other album released in the 2010’s by a twentieth century rock star, but Ringo remains one of the greatest of all time.