Things seem to be getting better all the time to borrow a phrase from one of my all-time favorite groups. What with spring finally arriving and Covid vaccines coming to the fore, at least in the US, there seems to be more hope in the air in first three months of 2021 than there was in the entire year of ugh that was 2020.
To top off all these good vibes comes a burst of digital cheer from none other than former Beatle Ringo Starr with the release yesterday of his new mini album or digital EP (whatever you want to call it) titled “Zoom In”.
This groovy new collection of five tunes lasts about twenty minutes and is a fun burst of energy that doesn’t overstay its welcome and because of that is ripe for repeated listening. And for all you physical media fans “Zoom In” comes on both vinyl as well as CD and is also available to stream at all the usual digital watering holes for those of you who could care less about owning your music but still may want to sample some of the songs.
So far this year I haven’t really bought any newer music so it’s a pleasure to discover an old friend sending out a kind musical word or two to help put out some much needed positivity into the universe after so many months of gloom.
I know a lot of folks may say Ringo Starr, really? But for me Ringo’s musical output from 1992 on has included some of the strongest and most entertaining music of his solo career and I can always count on at least a gem or two on every record he’s released in that time and this new EP is no exception.
Here’s a brief thought or two on each of the fives songs from “Zoom In”:
“Here’s to the Nights” – You know when I first had heard this song it didn’t really strike me as being great but serviceable. Now that I’ve heard it a couple more times I really enjoy it. It might be a tad bit generic in places but the lyrics fit 2020 like a glove. The melody does remind me of Paul McCartney’s song “Hope for the Future”. Speaking of Paul McCartney he’s featured on background vocals but you can’t really hear him that well. There are other big league back vocalists too like Sheryl Crow and Lenny Kravitz but again it’s hard to make them out. Not a bad song at all. I’d give it to solid “B“.
“Zoom In Zoom Out” – The title track and another decent song. Again a little bit generic but really nice instrumental work and Ringo sounds really good on this song. It has a nice groove and a typical Ringo pop tune circa 2021. Another solid “B“
“Teach Me to Tango” – I really like this song! I’d say this is my favorite from the EP. It has a great chorus and is a nice fast-paced song that’s played really well and Ringo sounds vocally the best of the five tunes on the album. In fact given his age Ringo sounds overall pretty good vocally these days. Yes there is a touch of autotune here and there but really he sounds pretty solid. I’d give this song an “A” and will definitely come back to it for repeated future spins.
“Waiting for the Tide to Turn” – For some reason this reminds me of an ’80s Police type tune with a little reggae mixed in. The first time I heard it it was a little bit generic but after a couple more plays I really like it. In fact I like the soulful backing vocals a lot. I’d give it a “B+“
“Not Enough Love in the World” – I really enjoyed this song because the lyrics speak to so much of what I’ve been feeling throughout 2020. It’s been such an isolating and sad year that this song’s message really struck a cord with me. It’s a breezy pop tune that would have sounded nice on any of Ringo’s ’70s albums. I give this another “B+“
All in all I really enjoyed this ep. It’s a nice 20 minutes of solid pop/rock from Ringo which is always a good thing in my book. If you enjoyed any of Ringo’s work from the last 30 years or so this is on par with most of that and while it may be not as strong as his recent “Postcards from Paradise” album it’s still a solid and enjoyable piece of work.
My main criticism of this fine collection I’d say is the mix which is a tad bit muddy. It sounds good but a little thick and homogeneous in spots. It doesn’t bother me enough from enjoying the album but it would have been nice to hear a clearer mix but oh well I’ll take what I can get and am just glad Ringo’s still out there rocking in his own unique way.
At any rate it’s great to hear form an old friend. I’ve always enjoyed Ringo’s work and this is just another fun digital postcard that I will take out and enjoy every now and again. I think the shorter format works well for Ringo and I look forward to hearing more as he’s said that he’s working on another mini album as we speak.
As usual there are photos above of the CD version of “Zoom In”. I’m not sure if I’ll grab the vinyl version but like all things Beatle or ex-Beatle with me you never know.
Until next time be well and safe and I hope it’s a sunny and warm day in your part of the world!