Monday, September 2, 2019

Album review: Give More Love by Ringo Starr

This is the first CD I've reviewed that I don't think I would have ever heard of if it hadn't been given to me. I've never been much of a Beatles fan, and I certainly haven't kept up with any of the former members' solo projects. I've always written it off as "old people music", even if I wouldn't have used those exact words. After all, I only have so much time in the day to listen to music, so why don't I just listen to the stuff I already know I like? The obvious problem with that statement is that sometimes you miss an absolute gem or two- and Ringo Starr's 2017 album Give More Love is absolutely a gem.

There's just something remarkable about the combination of old fashioned songwriting and modern production. While listening to Give More Love, I thought about how it would have blown peoples' minds in the 60s. Back then, nobody had heard recorded music sound this good. Because every song sounds like it could have been written fifty years ago, I can really hear just how far music recording and production has come since then. Every detail in the music is laid bare before the listener, and there's no modern synthesizers or heavy distortion to saturate the mix. The reverb and delay on the vocals is almost as clear as the lead vocals themselves, which sound exactly like they came off a classic rock album. The instruments, however, sound as modern as they come.

Before going further, I have to immediately give props to the guitarists who played on this record- all thirteen of them. I was massively impressed. None of the guitar work was necessarily complex or mind blowing, but it was exactly what the record needed to sound best. Really, nothing about Give More Love could be described as over-the-top, extreme, or ground breaking. But that sure doesn't mean it isn't a darn good CD. Every detail is tasteful.

It must be said, however, that I'm not a huge fan of Ringo's vocals. He can hold a tune, that's for sure, but the rough rock n' roll aesthetic with heavy delay really doesn't work for me. It's perfectly appropriate for the tone of the songs, but it's easily the most outdated sounding element of the album. It almost sounds out of place with the modern clarity, but I bet it would have sounded great sixty years ago.

When it comes down to it though, I like rock music. I play guitar, it's practically baked into my DNA at this point to love some good rock, and Give More Love is absolutely good rock. I found it incredibly easy to groove with- which of course is only possible because the drums are on point. I may not know much about the Beatles, but I know enough that I feel the compulsive urge to defend Ringo's drumming on his own album.

I give Give More Love three out of five stars, and my favorite track is "Laughable".

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