If that truly was the case, then the artist seems to be in no mood to break any new ground on his own behalf - musically, '(Just Like) Starting Over' harked back to earlier days of Fifties rock and roll and doo wop, the upshot being that there's nothing remotely controversial or confrontational about it and was a letdown to those who expected a major statement of intent from the angry and angsty young man they knew of old, if only just to stick two fingers up at the bland contemporary fayre McCartney was churning out. The disappointment and 'ho hum' factor is neatly underlined by the fact '(Just Like) Starting Over' only managed to reach number eight on first release in October 1980 and was outside the top 20 when Lennon was shot in December, events which inevitably powered it to the top of the charts.
To be fair, though '(Just Like) Starting Over' is not the music Lennon will be remembered for in ten, twenty or a hundred years time, it is the sound of a man comfortable in his own clothes and at ease with his own legend. As a diversion, it's more than passable, but whether the subdued and retrospective middle aged tone of this and the whole of the parent 'Double Fantasy' album would be a signpost to any future music, or whether it was Lennon dipping his toes back in the water to build confidence again by doing what he knew best we will never know. And in that factor alone, the title of '(Just Like) Starting Over' carries a bitter irony in that a start was all that Lennon was allowed to achieve in this stage of his career.