Once a Beatle but now a successful solo star, Ringo Starr is back in the spotlight with his newest album “What’s My Name?” featuring famous collaborations, impactful messages and new instruments. The 10-song album is his first since 2017, and his 20th solo album. It includes a similar feel to many of his previous solo albums but includes a few covers and a bunch of brand new tunes.
“Gotta Get Up To Get Down” has a heavier soul feel, with deep bass pulsing in the background throughout the entire song and the twangs of an electric guitar adding a traditional rock feel. The lyrics depict how the Internet and social media negatively affects the world and the people who use it. “Everybody’s on the Internet/ what’s up with that/ your body’s waiting for your brain to come back,” Ringo sings in a raspy drawl. The tune has all the aspects of a traditional rock song, including heavy drums and a repetitive chorus, but it includes a twist — a message against heavy media usage.
Starr pays homage to the Beatles with a couple of covers on this new album. He introduces a solemn cover of John Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me,” a track Lennon put out in 1984 alongside his wife Yoko Ono. He uses the same lyrics and the basic aspects of the original melody, but adds his own personalized touch to it. Both versions include a soft and melodic violin that carries the melancholy lyrics. In Starr’s version, he changed the tempo of the song with an acoustic guitar, which drastically lightened the mood.
The Beatles covered the song “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Barrett Strong for its first audition for Decca Records back in 1962, which eventually made it on their first album, “Meet The Beatles.” This song is considered a huge part of the beginning of the Beatles and their rise to fame. Starr produces his own cover of the song on this album, bringing nostalgia from the beginning of his music career.
The peppiest and happiest tune on the album, “Thank God for Music,” has a fairly strange auto-tune haze over Starr’s voice, but the song is solid nonetheless. He introduces a choir of backup singers that adds an emotionally charged ambiance. The song serves as a dedication to what music has done to Starr’s life. Starr believes that him becoming so heavily involved in the music industry saved him from a life working in the factories in Liverpool and never getting to see the world. “From a factory to a dream/ from Liverpool to LA and everywhere in between,” Starr sings with the strums of an electric guitar radiating between his words.
“Send Love, Spread Peace” is Starr’s motto, and this phrase appears in nearly every single one of his social media posts and interviews he has done in the last few years. Reminiscent of Lennon’s “Imagine,” the song includes a call to action to its listeners. “Close your eyes, visualize, it’s up to you/ send love, spread peace/ It’s all in the world we need,” Starr sings.
The final song on the album shares its title with the name of the album “What’s my name.” The song is rock heavy, fast paced and includes a very strange backstory. The idea for the song was born from a gimmick Starr includes in every single one of his live shows. After introducing the members of his band to the audience he turns to the audience and yells, “What’s my name?” Without fail, there is always a unanimous “Ringo!” screamed back in response. Giving his fans some spotlight in the song, he includes a clip of one of his live shows of the audience screaming “Ringo!” The song also includes banjo, harmonica and tells the story of his rise to fame alongside The Beatles and into his solo career.
Despite already having a fairly large claim to fame, Starr continues to tour, put out music and try new things within his career. He has no prospects of retiring any time soon and “What’s My Name” certainly proves his dedication to that.