Release Date: September 28th, 2010
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska Krieger
Eric Clapton is known for many things. His songwriting ability. His hits. His time with Cream. His dramatic past. And that rich history and experience come together in a pleasing and relaxing manner on his latest, eponymous album. Drawing a great deal from soul, blues and a little bit of jazz, the album generally has a relaxed feel and mature sound.
“Traveling Alone” has a somewhat gritty aspect to it and a very clear blues influence. Clapton’s vocals and guitar style fit this approach perfectly and the song has a tremendous amount of soul but enough of a tempo and creates enough intrigue to draw listeners in, even if they’re unsure of what awaits them. “Rocking Chair” is a much more mellow piece with a slow, loping tempo and a bit of an easy swing to it. The soul is still there, but there’s a bit of humor and an easiness to it that is a good release after the intensity of “Traveling Alone.”
“Judgement Day” ups that swinging tempo and is the type of song to get toes tapping. It clearly harkens back to earlier days of jazz and blues and throws in a bit of Dixie for good measure. The song is fun to listen to and an easy one to enjoy. “Milkman” is another entertaining track with a romantic twist but in a quaint way that harkens back to earlier days. The message may be an old one, and the style may even have been done before, but there’s still something sweet and fresh about the song.
“Everything Will Be Alright” is one of the few songs that doesn’t feel like it entirely fits in with the rest of the album. It is just a little too contemporary to fit with tracks like “Milkman” in a comfortable manner. “Diamonds” suffers a little from the same problem. If it were on almost any other Clapton album it might come across differently, but it pales a bit when compared to the more traditional blues sound found on most of the other tracks. “When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful” is the type of track to tug on the proverbial heart-strings and the addition of horns and piano add a good touch and emphasize the sound that makes the majority of the album so good.
On one hand, it can be a bit difficult to find anything wrong with an album by a legend such as Clapton, but, despite how long he’s been making music, Eric Clapton isn’t a perfect album. It has many great points and the style is something that isn’t often heard these days. However, there are some difficulties in terms of flow and style and not all of the songs seem to mesh quite right together. Nonetheless, the album is a good listen and nice to unwind to after a rough day.