When we last heard from Eric Clapton, he was busy making tribute albums (most notably one to legendary bluesman, Robert Johnson) and compilation CDs. Paying homage to music greats is a respectful gesture, but after a while, fans, especially Clapton’s, will start clamoring for original material. After listening to Back Home, Clapton’s first album of original material in five years, however, fans may think twice before wishing for another Clapton studio venture.

The album opens with the upbeat “So Tired,” a song filled with guitar twangs, crashing drums and some sweet Clapton scat. However, near the end of the song, there is an unusual cameo appearance that seems to come out of nowhere by – get ready for it – a baby.

On Stevie Wonder and Syretta Wright’s “I’m Going Left,” Clapton dazzles with his gruff, sexy growls. But with painstakingly repetitive lyrics: “I’m goin’ left / ‘Til you lead me to the right,” the song quickly becomes extremely unappealing. Clapton does succeed, hitting a high note with The Spinners’ “Love Don’t Love Nobody.” The R&B groove juxtaposed against Clapton’s soulful voice leaves a lasting impression. Additionally, Clapton’s signature guitar licks shine on the George Harrison-penned “Love Comes To Everyone.”

“Lost and Found” is another track worth listeners’ attention. Although the opening guitar licks sound suspiciously like George Thorogood and the Destroyers’ “Bad to the Bone,” the contagious rhythm is a welcome respite from the excess of sleepy tunes that fill the rest of the album.

One would think that Eric Clapton, seasoned artist as he is, would know what it takes to make a great album. However, on Back Home, the guitar god falls short.

 

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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