McCartney outshines Starr in recent solo albums

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, two of the world’s most honored musicians and the only remaining members of arguably the greatest band of all time, have released their solo albums this year.

In a “Battle of the Beatles,” it appears McCartney’s new solo work is the champion as it charms its way into the hearts of long-time listeners.

McCartney’s 16th solo album “Kisses on the Bottom” released on Feb. 7 just in time for Valentine’s Day. The appropriately timed and named album proves to be his most romantic work yet.

It is a surprising record coming from McCartney as it is a tribute to American jazz, but the style complements McCartney’s classic and soothing vocals.

With a little help from his friends Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, McCartney fills the album with sweet songs like “My Valentine” and “Only Our Hearts.”

McCartney performed “My Valentine” Sunday at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. Joe Walsh took the place of Clapton on the guitar and was an adequate replacement. His performance received praise from fans and critics alike.

On Jan. 31, Starr released his album “Ringo 2012,” which recalls his earlier solo work that was simply called “Ringo.” The previous album, released in 1973, featured all three of the artist’s ex-bandmates, giving hope for Beatles fans that the band would reunite.

The album “Ringo 2012,” however, probably should have not lived to see this year. The first track “Anthem” is an ode “for peace and love,” as he sings in the first line. Although the lyrics convey a nice and pleasant meaning, the song itself is a catastrophe — a mix between funk and classic rock with a melody that does not match the lyrics.

Rather than placing listeners in an island paradise, the reggae-inspired “Think it Over” has a rhythm and beat that sounds more like something an old man would listen to on a cruise ship in the Bahamas.

“In Liverpool” is a touching song written for his glory days back in England when the Beatles were together. However, it is still just as nerdy of a song as Starr himself. With weak melody and lyrics “Me and the girl  me and the band / living our fantasies / breakin’ the rules / actin’ like fools,” the song does not live up to the success the former Beatle could have attained.

The work is a good effort on Starr’s part, but fails to shine and falls short in comparison to “Kisses on the Bottom.” Perhaps it isn’t a fair comparison, as Ringo wrote “Octopus’s Garden” whereas McCartney arranged “Yesterday.”

However, the two musicians are so legendary that no matter their age or the strangeness of their solo work, they both deserve credit for contributing to music's history.

 

Reach the reporter at jhgee@asu.edu

 

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