Ringo Starr, everyone’s favorite Beatle for silliness and comic relief, has at long last returned to EMI Music to release his latest record, ‘Liverpool 8.’ After a long hiatus of nearly 23 years away from the record company that held the hands of certain British invaders since 1952, Starr had ‘Liverpool 8’ released by EMI Music worldwide in 2008. Meanwhile Capitol Records released the album in the United States and famed Parlophone released it in the United Kingdom, a record company which first shared rising fame with The Beatles in 1962.
‘Liverpool 8’ is a sort of homage to Starr’s legacy in music. While listening to the first track, it becomes clear the nostalgic elements of being a former Beatle heavily influence the overall tone and mood of the album. It not only brings everyone together by doing some serious name-dropping throughout, but closes out the song with an all-out choir of chants and fists raised high, applause all around and nothing but a feel-good wave sweeping over you.
Our big-love-promoting hippie still reigns in ‘Liverpool 8’ with the clear step back to the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ days with the track ‘Gone Are the Days.’ Unmistakably, you hear the droning sitar slowly gallop into hearing range, a melody making its presence known from miles away. Again, the song echoes of his life of fame; we hear a sort of Dalai Lama prayer song, an amalgam of psychedelic elements. But it’s in songs like this in particular that we see a shift to the rocking guitar and poignant vocals heard throughout the album.
There are simplistic harmonicas and innocent songs of the best kind of love in Starr’s ‘Liverpool 8.’ Starr conveys his mantra throughout the album, clearly invoking the days of twinkles in girls’ eyes and boys’ blushing cheeks. The hazy song of the lounge jack in ‘Harry’s Song’ morphs into a track with elements of that otherworldly drug-induced time Starr spent being a Beatle.
The album is very love- and happiness-centered. With a good four songs blatantly titled with the word ‘love,’ the album on the whole starts to look more like Starr is just trying to get a message across, instead of a release effort to pay the latest bills on his Monte Carlo travel pad.
The songs are musically full of substance yet that undeniable twang remains. In many songs you will wonder why Paul and John let Ringo sing lead in this one track. It’s like a weird Beatles reunion without the remnants of the swan song, ‘Let It Be,’ reminding us of how The Beatles left their legacy. You’re always brought back down to earth, however, with the clear signature of Starr himself embedded throughout the record.