The Inside Pulse:
Eric Clapton’s last album was a full record of blues covers by the legendary Robert Johnson. The story goes that Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for being the best blues artist on the planet, and it might as well be true, because Johnson was absolutely SICK on the guitar. The Clapton covers album, “Me and Mr. Johnson,” was really, really good. Clapton did Johnson justice, and there’s not a lot of people in the world that can do that.
This time around, Clap veers back into pop territory for Back Home. It’s slicker, better produced, and has some catchy tunes, but does all that equal a good album?
Clapton sounds positively smooth on most of the songs in this collection. The singing is effortless, and he makes great guitar riffs sound easy, when they aren’t. There’s still a hint of the blues, mostly in the guitar solos, but most of this record is positively reggae.
Yeah, it’s reggae, and Eric doesn’t do it all that well. The singing and guitar playing is awesome, but the songs aren’t all that well written, and covering them up with guitar solos make this thing sound more like a Carlos Santana joint than anything else. That’s all fine and good, but Santana sucks and I don’t want to hear Clapton doing Santana. And don’t tell me that Santana is one of the best guitarists in the world, because the guy has been doing the exact same thing for twenty years and refuses to change his style, instead relying on recording the same songs over and over again, but melding in various contemporary pop stars like Rob Thomas in order to boost his street cred. I’m hoping Clapton doesn’t make that decision, but this record isn’t giving me a lot of hope.
Reason To Buy:
If you’re a baby boomer and like adult pop radio, you’re going to dig this. I can’t imagine anyone else liking it, because there’s not enough interesting guitar work to give it cred with musicians, and there’s nothing in there that would remotely interest the MTV Generation. That’s all fine and good because I couldn’t give a crap about the MTV Generation, but I’m simply saying there’s not much about this record that I would consider excellent. It’s not a must buy, unless you’re a Clapton completist. Middle of the road fare from someone who I’d expected more of.