Ringo Starr’s post-Beatles work has been the least lauded of the four stars’ solo efforts, and “Y Not” does nothing to change that assessment. “Y Not” is full of tunes that are thoroughly average, which results in a poor overall album.
What’s even harder to digest is that these tracks are dated. Their deep adherence to 1960s and 1970s pop sound and structure makes them occasionally uncomfortable to hear. This is a style that has parodied relentlessly, but Starr still wants to use the genre seriously. It’s a difficult problem to get over.
Even ignoring the retro quality, these songs just aren’t very original. The songwriting is nothing impressive and the instrumentation is standard. The excellent Joe Walsh is the only bright spot, contributing guitar to “Fill in the Blanks” and “Peace Dream.” It’s not a surprise that those are the two opening tracks, or that they’re far and away the best cuts. The ten songs of “Y Not” are sung by an average-at-best voice, proclaiming well-treaded themes like peace (“Peace Dream” rehashes John Lennon’s “Imagine”) carpe diem philosophy (“Time”), and optimism (“Can’t Do It Wrong”).
The last track on this album is a blues-inspired duet with Joss Stone called “Who’s Your Daddy?” It is a testament to the poor quality of this album that not even the talented and sultry Stone can make this disc better. If you’re a fan of Starr’s work, you should cautiously check this out. All others should avoid.’Stephen Carradini