First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2005, Volume 12, #10
Written by John Metzger
Over the course of the past decade, Eric Clapton has made a myriad of comments indicating that his impending retirement — be it from recording, touring, or both — was just around the corner, though, thus far, all of them have gone unfulfilled. However, with the release of his latest effort Back Home, which completes the string of thematically linked outings that began with 1989’s Journeyman, he actually sounds as if, this time, he might mean it. Indeed, there are allusions to his settling down sprinkled throughout the collection. On the slowly simmering, reggae-tinged lilt of Revolution, for example, he co-opts a few lines from the Rolling Stones’ The Last Time ("I told you once/I told you twice/You never listen to my advice"). Likewise, the set is his most eclectic batch of material in quite some time, and in typical, career encapsulating fashion, it rolls through the gospel-infused soul of Stevie Wonder’s I’m Going Left; the ’70s folk of George Harrison’s Love Comes to Everyone; The Band’s style of Americana-tinged hymns on Run Home to Me; and the hard-hitting blues of Lost and Found. More importantly, the concept for the collection hinges upon the happiness that Clapton has found within the simple pleasures of family life, and although on So Tired he absurdly complains about changing nappys, the title track’s road-weary yearning for a more stationary existence indicates that he has found something that is more important to him than making music for the masses. Without question, Back Home is far from being the best album in Clapton’s canon. Yet, his reflective and heartfelt musings frequently cut through the glossy production to become emotionally-charged statements, and occasionally even the music taps into the sort of renewed vigor that comes from knowing that the end is in sight. ½
48th Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
Back Home is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box