From the man who brought you “With a Little Help from my Friends,” “Yellow Submarine,” and the lyrics to “Octo- pus’s Garden,” comes the solo album Postcards from Paradise. Ringo Starr is back with a solo album. Postcards is as goofy and nostalgic as you might expect from the 74-year-old former Beatles drummer, but it’s hard to appreciate the music past the overly sentimental and uninspired lyrics.
Postcards opens with “Rory and the Hurricanes,” in which Starr reminisces about his pre-Beatles days as the drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. The message could be interpreted as Starr’s idealistic vision of his “paradise.” The album as a whole is steeped in nostalgia, even if tropically themed songs such as “Island in the Sun” and reggae-inspired rhythms on songs such as “Right Side of the Road” suggest that Starr’s current “paradise” is literally a tropical island.
Starr references his musical history throughout the title track “Postcards from Paradise” with lyrical nods to past Beatles songs. “I wouldn’t trade you for no one, I see your face here comes the sun,” he sings, followed by, “It’s like I said the night before, I’ll love you when I’m 64.” With at least 14 obvious references to past Beatles songs (and I’m no Beatles expert), the title track sounds like a desperate attempt to revive the glory days of the band. Unoriginal and often cheesy, the lyrics ruin what could have been an enjoyable album. “I woke up this morning, and opened up my eyes/ I made myself some coffee, and then I realized / Some people are good, and some people are bad, / Some people are crazy, and some are still so sad,” he sings on “You Bring the Party Down.” It’s hard to take him seriously.
The drumming on Postcards lives up to Starr’s standards, especially on tracks such as “Bam- boula.” Starr’s transitional riffs keep otherwise formulaic songs from stagnating, but he does not offer anything particularly groundbreaking.
With all of Starr’s famous friends as guest musicians, the album certainly seems like a party. But overall, listening to Postcards from Paradise is like going to the most awkward party ever where you don’t know anyone and the music is only okay. Obviously, the album isn’t meant to be serious, but it would be much better if listeners could listen to its lyrics without cringing.