Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Dear Eric Clapton, Please Stop Making Records
On September 28th, a new Eric Clapton CD will be released. It will be called "Clapton," named after Eric Clapton. I've already listened to most of this record, but before it was over, I caught myself saying out loud to no one, "GET THIS SHIT OFF!"
This record upset me. Maybe I should have known better, but something inside me still had faith that this man who once played his guitar just like a'ringing a bell, will play his guitar just one more time. So I keep listening. And it keeps getting worse.
It's one thing to age gracefully. (See Robert Plant) But this "new Clapton album" is the equivalent of lying in your bed, no longer caring about hygiene, eating Entenmann's cakes, watching Maury Povich and waiting to die. If John Pizzarelli released an album like this, you'd say, "Wow. This is one shit John Pizzarelli album."
But that's not why I'm here.
When do we, as music fanatics, finally throw in the towel? Our idols rarely throw in the towel before us. (Dying doesn't count.)
Excluding "Me & Mr. Johnson," which was a better than average collection of Robert Johnson tunes with more than a few inspired moments of guitar, Eric Clapton hasn't released an album with any balls since his debut in 1970. Yes, there was an occasional sign of life. I guess "Slowhand" is an okay record, but really, as popular as it was and still is, "Cocaine" is kinda lame. (Though, I guess, next to "Lay Down Sally" it sounds like "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.")
Another example is Neil Young, though I certainly don't feel the same level of disgust with Neil as I do with Eric. Look at the facts, look at the facts.
Young's released 32 albums of original, studio material since 1969. More than half, most coming in consecutive waves starting with 1980's "Hawks & Doves through 1988's "This Note's For You," and continuing with 1994's "Sleeps With Angels" through 2009's "Fork In The Road," are mediocre or worse. Again, there are winners here and there. I really love "Freedom," "Ragged Glory" and "Harvest Moon."
When do we give up? When do we put a fork in Neil Young? Or do we not? Does this man get a perpetual free pass thanks to everything prior to 1979?
I should have given up on Eric Clapton....when? "Layla?"
What I'm asking is, which artist will you just continue to listen to, regardless of how lousy the output may be?
And which artist did you once die for, but finally decided you just couldn't listen anymore?