Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ringo 2012, or Beatle Bashing Made Easy

"The Beatles are dying in the wrong order."
-Victor Lewis-Smith

no, i have no idea who or what a Victor Lewis-Smith is either, but he, as do most of the world, knows of The Beatles. he is also aware that a negative, semi-witty comment about them is likely to get remembered and quoted too.

as the two Beatles who died have gained some sort of legendary, mythical status, it is increasingly the case that bashing the other two has become an acceptable form of entertainment. the Knighted one, of course, tends to get a bit bashed simply because of his lovelife and you would have thought simple wish to not be alone and indeed to be happy.

and then there is Ringo Starr.

Ringo tends to actively encourage being bashed, really. he is as arrogant, obnoxious and oblivious to anyone as, well, as you or i would perhaps be if we had been part of one of, if not the, single biggest and most influential band in the history of modern music.

his stance on interviews is legendary. you are warned up front not to ask a single question about The Beatles. if you dare to, then you never get access to Ringo again, and neither will the media you represent. there's also a heavily veiled threat with that warning that it will mean "no access to Paul" in the future. and then, if you go and read interviews he does, Ringo has no problem at all with lines like "did i mention i was in The Beatles?".

beyond that, there was of course his infamous and ill-advised press release that he "will not sign anything anymore". he was roundly mocked for this, and perhaps rightly - why not just stop signing things, why make such a fuss?

but he does, of course, want the fans to keep buying his product. bringing that and The Beatles thing above together, he of course had no issue with flogging some sort of video game to the world.

and now, of course, he wishes for "the fans", the ones who cannot ask him of his illustrious past or have a memento if they are fortunate enough to meet him, to buy his latest album, Ringo 2012.

that really is the album cover, by the way. i am not sure i have ever seen such a cheap, shoddy, quickly put together work of "art" before.

to call this an album is, honestly, only to abide by the record industry's guidelines about lengths. at all of 28 minutes long, even if one tries the statement "quality over quantity", this all screams "this will do".

going back to any sort of quality over quantity argument, forget it. of the poor sales for this album (more on that just now), the first track, Anthem, starts with the lines "this is an anthem for peace and love". oh dear! is he trying to show off how far removed from the world he is yet still feels compelled if not obliged to "comment", or is this an effort to try and attract Sir Paul to appear at one of his All Starr Band gigs?

i am not really going to dwell on the specifics of the rest of the album. i would guess that a few got halfway through the first track there, pulled the disc out and lamented their purchasing mistake. everyone else will find a few tracks that personify the term "average effort" and find out just what it is that Ringo Starr thinks will do. they are not bad tunes, but there are no classics here. some, granted, will sound like great fun to a sauced audience at one of his celebrated "All Starr Band" gigs. but then leave them there, don't go recording and releasing them.

overall, then, it is fair to say that Ringo 2012 succeeds only in its efforts to be the single biggest vanity project ever thrust on the world.

and just how has the world taken to the release of Ringo 2012? not at all well. sales in the US on the first week of release were 6300. in the UK, it sold precisely 752 copies. to put that in some sort of perspective, the 2001 Mick Jagger solo album, Goddess In The Doorway. got lashed for "only" selling about 950 copies in the UK on the week of release, despite it coming out at a time when CD-R copies and illegal downloads were something of a free-for-all. Jagger's album at the least eventually climbed into the Top 50 in the US and UK, something that Ringo is unlikely to do as it fell out of the chart on the 2nd week of release.

being aware of the extravagance that Ringo Starr is partial to, there's a case to suggest that it might well have been cheaper for the record label to simply fly everyone who wanted to hear this album to one venue and just play the tape rather than going to the trouble of pressing and releasing it. one can only assume that Universal Music agreed to release this as some sort of "sweetener" for Ringo, really. Universal have just bought the EMI catalogue, which means they effectively own the releases to the works of The Beatles. perhaps they feel that being nice to Ringo and keeping him on side will mean he will agree to promote and be involved with future release that will sell a great deal better.

if that makes sense to Universal, and it does indeed for this is how business works, then it does not really make all that much sense for Ringo to bother with all of this. you would assume he does not need the money and quite frankly if he did then surely he is coining it in with his - apparently rightly - celebrated and successful All Starr Band concerts. one would hope that he's done this as he is "old school" and believes one needs a new album out before going on tour. either that or he just wishes to try and be the Beatle to release the most solo albums.

for whatever reason this got released, all it has done is open the door to more Beatle, obviously specifically Ringo, bashing. this, honestly, is a shame. i'm not saying that any ex-Beatle should be automatically revered and worshipped, but they have earned a distinctly high level of respect by any standard. some people enjoy knocking them, and it's a shame to see them themselves feeding it by releasing things like this.

there is no reason on earth to purchase this album, but that's a rather academic thing to say since the sales figures scream that the world has already got to this conclusion. stick to the tours and celebrity appearances, Ringo.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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