Eric Clapton - Back Home Review
by Dan Upton
The first time I put on Eric Clapton's most recent disc (this makes what, 40 or so, counting things released as Eric Clapton, Cream, or Derek & The Dominoes?), I was completely put off by the opening track "So Tired." What is this? What happened to the guy that brought us "Cocaine," "Layla," and "Tears in Heaven?" Hell, what happened to the guy that brought us "My Father's Eyes" or "Change the World?" This was roughly my opinion of the entire CD the first time through. After thinking about it for a while, I realized it's hardly fair to compare this to those classics--having just turned 60 this year, he's obviously in a different place than he was in, say, his 20s or 30s. (Never mind the alcoholism and drugs that he's finally gotten off of...) So, listening with a more appropriate mindset...
...it's a fun, hook-filled pop-rock disc with a few sparkles of the past. Just like some of Santana's recent collaborations, it's hard not to get sucked into the upbeat groove of songs like the aforementioned opener or "I'm Going Left." There are some slow, adult contemporary ballads like "Love Don't Love Nobody" (contradicted a few tracks later by "Love Comes to Everyone) or "Run Home to Me" that won't ever be on my must-listen list, but are good songs to zone out on. There's the catchy "Revolution" that flirts with reggae, but the best tracks on here as far as I'm concerned are "Lost and Found," a plodding bluesy rocker reminiscent of some of Bonnie Raitt's early-90s output, and the acoustic, finger-picked closer "Back Home."
Even keeping in mind that people change, it's hard not to be biased against a record like this when you were raised on or inspired to make music by some of his classic tracks. To Eric's credit, he knows how to craft solid songs, and there's still glimmers of the guitar god within--the playing has just taken somewhat of a backseat to the composition and lyric-writing. All things considered: an enjoyable listen, but not a particularly necessary addition to anybody's library except for the die-hard fans and collectors.
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