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Ringo Starr's 'Change the World' a low-key treat

Starr collaborates with some of his “tribe” as well as some fresh faces in the second of Ringo Starr’s EPs released in 2021.


Change the World

Ume (10-inch Vinyl EP)

4 stars

Change the World is the second of Ringo Starr’s EPs to be released in 2021, and much like its predecessor, Zoom In, it’s a low-key treat. Starr collaborates with some of his “tribe” (such as guitarists Steve Lukather and Joe Walsh) as well as some fresh faces: Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes, Pink) composed and produced the easygoing pop tune “Coming Undone” for Starr, and Trombone Shorty provided trumpet, trombone (naturally), and handled the sharp horn arrangement. The song sounds reminiscent of some of the material on Ringo’s 1970s records (minus the lyric that references Google, of course).

The title track, co-written by Lukather and Joseph Williams, is another in a series of Starr’s “peace and love” anthems (“Let’s change the world/There’s more than enough love to go around”) that is highlighted by a hot Lukather guitar solo and some wonderfully soulful backing vocals. Starr wrote the reggae groover “Just That Way” with Change the World co-producer Bruce Sugar and it lopes along quite nicely. More prominent backing vocals on this one as well, courtesy of Zho and Zelma Davis.

The EP closes out with a spirited cover of a song from Ringo’s youth: Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.” It really cooks, with Walsh contributing all the guitars and Ringo having a bash up on his drum kit, including one final nifty fill to end the song. Matter of fact, Ringo’s drumming (which is appropriately pushed up a bit in the mix) is a highlight throughout Change the World, proving that even at age 81, his chops are still sharp.

— John M. Borack


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