Greetings, Glancers! Are you ready for this? I know I’m not. First off, it’s Ringo. Secondly, his first album was pretty bad. Third – this is supposed to be based in the Country and Western genre – my most disliked genre of music. Is there any way this will be enjoyable to me?
‘Beaucoups Of Blues‘ starts with a very slow beat, perfect for Ringo. It’s gentle and I was about to compliment Ringo’s vocals, but then he did something weird. On the whole his vocals are fine – there are moments when he tries to move up or down through the notes in a single breath when it fallsapart, but this rasping suits the general yapping nature of CW music. There’s harmonica and strings and slide guitar, because of course there is. Some backing vocals. It’s not terrible. At least Ringo doesn’t have your standard CW male voice.
‘Love Don’t Last Long‘ is another slow one. It sounds like every other Country ballad you’ve ever heard. Seriously, if you’ve heard a few of these in your time and I told you without hearing this to start whistling a Country ballad, what would come out would be pretty close to this. The lyrics tell some sort of sorry story – they all do – and at least that’s better than generic pop, but musically it’s perfectly ordinary. It’s perfectly fine for people who like this sort of thing, but it’s just not my style.
‘Fastest Growing Heartache In The West‘ is, inside the first 10 seconds or so, everything I despise about Country music. It’s just so whiny. It takes instruments I love and makes me hate them. It’s like… have you every had or heard of Irish Stew? It’s this manky local food we’re all supposed to eat and love but it’s fucking awful. It’s a product of famine time, when whatever crap was left drooping out of the garden would be shoved into a pot and called food. Stew takes individual ingredients I do like to eat, and somehow makes them inedible. That’s exactly what Country music is to me, with the added offence that every dickhead in the world enjoys it.
‘Without Her‘ has more promise, in that I don’t want to clap my head between a couple of bricks within the first thirty seconds. It feels like it was actually influenced by his time in The Beatles. It’s the best song so far, because it sounds the least Country. It’s sweet, still not very good, but I can get through it without cringing.
‘Woman Of The Night’ sounds okay too. More folk than Country so far. Decent verse, nice swell for the chorus, and Ringo gets to stretch his vocals more than usual.
‘I’d Be Talking All The Time‘ loses any good will we gained from the last too. It’s another Country horror show. This is the sort of thing my extended family enjoy – it’s music for oldies and farmers. If you enjoy it… why do you? No, that’s not fair, if you enjoy it then good for you but it’s absolutely the opposite of everything I look for in music. Plus, wtf was that thing he did with his voice in the last moment?
‘$15 Draw’ brings a little slap of of funk. It’s a song about learning to play guitar and therefore the guitarists get to show off. Still, not very good, but at least it feels different from most of the other tracks. He goes buck nuts in the vocals at the end of this one too.
‘Wine, Women, And Loud Happy Songs‘ is another example of Country music’s false bravado. Sometimes they’ll come up with a song title which makes them sound like bad-asses or all about the fun – but almost every time the song makes them sound like the wankers that they are. No-one who writes a song like this has ever had a taste of wine or probably even met a woman. Or a human.
‘I Wouldn’t Have You Any Other Way‘ is…. I don’t care anymore. I tried, I really did, but Country music is just painful to me. This must be how people who don’t like Metal feel when they hear Metal – the difference being of course that Metal is good. There’s a woman singing here too. It adds nothing.
‘Loser’s Lounge‘ is faster at least. It feels like another one which could have appeared in a late Beatles album. It’s not good, but it has energy and humour and if Lennon and McCartney had had a go at it they could have turned it into something worth listening to more than once. As it stands this is one of the more tolerable songs on the album, but it’s a one listen and forget.
‘Waiting‘ is another sour ballad. There’s two or three others exactly like this on the album. Which means there’s about 4 billion already like it outside of this album. Take your pick.
‘Silent Homecoming‘ is the last song. Thank God none of these go far beyond three minutes. This is another which feels slightly different. It’s not traditionally Country thanks to some nifty drums and a different guitar tone. Still, that cringing Country guitar interrupts at various points to stop it from being something I’d want to hear again.
Well, that was just as bad as I was expecting. Ringo performs well, some of the songs are solid, in the main the lyrics are sound in that interesting ‘why me’ Country way, but it’s just that the songs are done in the Country style which takes them from forgettable to unforgivable. There’s at most four songs here worth hearing once – the rest are generic Country crap. This is one of the earliest modern forms of popular music, and it hasn’t progressed in the hundred or so years it has been around. I get that that’s why it remains so popular – it reminds you of Grandaddy slapping your arse or fiddling with a sheep or whatever. But the problem for me is simply, you hear one Country song from the 1940s, or one from this album, or one from today, and there’s is no progression, no effort, no originality. There’s a handful of songs which are genuinely outstanding in this genre, and a handful which are not painful. The rest are entirely, well, shite. I don’t doubt the talent of the musicians, but to me Country musicians, even the best, always seemed to me like jaded music teachers in school – entrenched in a single way of playing and unable to think or perform or see beyond those four walls. Which all means that this album could really have been by anyone – Ringo didn’t write the songs and he doesn’t add much to them to make them better or worse. It’s simply a batch of songs you’ve heard before which cold have been written at any point since 1900, with almost nothing to recommend it.
Let us know in the comments how much you loved this!
Nightman’s Playlist Pick: If forced at gunpoint – Woman Of The Night, Without Her.
That Irish Stew analogy for bad country music is spot on
I had no idea what that was as I wrote this about a year ago, had to read it again and giggle. Not sure what went on with the formatting here, I’ll have to edit…. actually, it looks fine on laptop, weird on Kindle.