They say I’m not what I used to be/All the same/I’m happier than a willow tree,” sings George Harrison in “Mystical One,” a song from his new album, Gone Troppo. Well, it’s great that George is happy, but he’s right about his career: lately, he’s made a much better movie financier than musician, and Gone Troppo — Harrison’s version of a Jimmy Buffett album — isn’t the record that will change things. So offhand and breezy as to be utterly insubstantial, the LP is made up of throwaway ditties, instrumental fragments and formulaic love songs. Tired of battling the temptations of the material world, Harrison sings about hanging out in the tropics (hence the title), sitting “mucho in a sunshine” and “counting de fruit bat.” But with the exception of the jaunty “Wake Up My Love,” writing de good song clearly wasn’t on George’s agenda.
Even so, the same casual air that makes the record so lightweight also means it’s more tolerable than most of his other outings. He still trips over his own earnest but muddled words when he tries to make a big statement, but for the most part, his singing is cheery and pleasant. Gone Troppo is passable stuff, though it’s hardly a day at the beach.