Ringo Starr – ‘Zoom In’ EP review: Beatle’s star-stuffed musical conference call
The eminently likeable drummer has gathered Macca, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow and more for a socially distanced knees-up to break the lockdown blues
Created as a means to keep Ringo Starr busy during lockdown, the former Beatles drummer’s new EP ‘Zoom In’ is heavily influenced by these ‘unprecedented times’ – borrowing its name from the pandemic’s favoured video call platform, a huge collection of guests having joined its musical conference call.
Ringo’s enlisted Sir Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow, Jenny Lewis, Corinne Bailey Rae and Sam Hollander from Panic! At The Disco, while taking great pains to distance himself from Rita Ora‘s approach to COVID-19 restrictions; he has emphasised on a number of occasions that “safety precautions” were followed throughout – the musical answer to posting your ‘socially distanced boozy park brunch’ on the grid.
Sonically, ‘Zoom In’ is ruled by the sort of upbeat, unrelenting jollity we expect from Ringo ‘Peace and Love’ Starr – its only moment of reflection, ’Not Enough Love In The World’, stomping cheerfully along like the theme tune to a canned-laughter sitcom, even as he despairs of a world lacking in… peace and love. “Every day, the news always sounds the same / You seem so far away, we’re breaking in two,” Ringo sings, stuck inside and communicating through a pixelated screen. Soon, though, he’s back on message. “Don’t give up!”
‘Here’s to the Nights’, written by ‘Rhythm of the Night’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’ songwriter Diane Warren, is Ringo’s very own paean to the upcoming restriction-lifting fervour of June 21. With its heart (and noodling guitar solos) is in the right place, the song quickly escalates from #relatable to celeb-quarantine preposterousness. “Here’s to falling on your face, getting back up and winning the race,” he sings early on – the pint-clutching masses surely united behind his words. Yet he continues more questionably: “Here’s to reaching for the stars / “Hanging out in castles or hanging in the yard.” Pardon?!
Title track ‘Zoom In Zoom Out’ finds Ringo searching for poetic meaning in glitchy video calls: “Zoom in to get a new perspective,” he sings with abandon, “Zoom out to see we’re all connected”. And ‘Waiting For the Tide To Turn’ cuts through the boredom with a slice of motivational dub-lite. “Let’s make some reggae music, and it will be a better day,” he promises, a debatable statement in this context.
Well-meaning and positive, ‘Zoom In’ is the aural equivalent of wishing somebody a ‘Happy Hump Day!’ over email, while wearing a daft grin. For all its flaws, this is a hard record to hate. It’s also nice to hear that, instead of moaning about being caged in a massive mansion, this celebrity is focusing on lifting the rest of us up instead.https://www.nme.com/reviews/ringo-starr-beatles-zoom-in-ep-2904191
Ringo Starr review, Zoom In EP: Artist’s connection is unstable on guest-packed project
Starr has produced an overstuffed pillow of an EP that ends up sounding schmaltzy and smothering
As a pandemic plays out across the globe, one-time Beatle percussionist Ringo Starr has seen fit to invite every last music celebrity he knows to create the Zoom In EP.
Among the list of guest vocalists are fellow Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Steve Lukather, Chris Stapleton, Jenny Lewis, Corinne Bailey Rae, Sheryl Crow, Yola, and more. Among his co-writers are the great Diane Warren, Steve Lukather, Walsh again, and Panic! at the Disco’s Sam Hollander. The result? I’d like to zoom out from this virtual happy hour, please.
Starr, who continues to market himself as being all about peace and love, man, has produced an overstuffed pillow of an EP that seeks to calm all of the world's aches but just ends up sounding schmaltzy and smothering.
Kicking things off is the Warren-written “Here's to the Nights”, which opens with a syrupy guitar solo and moves forward with Hallmark card lyrics about togetherness and “reaching for the stars” and “living out loud”. The entire throw-your-arms-around-your-neighbor ballad aims for “We Are The World” but hits closer to Gal Gadot and friends' cringe-inducing “Imagine” serenade.
Little improves on “Waiting for the Tide to Turn”, where Starr literally sings, “Let's make some reggae music / and it will be a better day”. Not that finding inspiration in other genres and Jamaican culture is wrong (and he’s done it before, specifically collaborating with Toots & the Maytals and Ziggy Marley in recent years) – it's just that Starr's interpretation is so cut-and-paste two-dimensional, all good intentions are lost.
Peace and love are fine concepts; certainly the world is just as complicated in 2021 as it was 50-odd years ago – if not more so. Except the conversations driving 2021 are more nuanced than ever, and slapping peace signs on everything is about as helpful as a black Instagram box with PR-approved copy from an advertising agency. Starr's aims are entirely pure with Zoom In, I’m sure, but his internet connection is unstable.https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/ringo-starr-review-zoom-...