Wood Burning

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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?

57 comments:

jeffen said...

I bought "Together Through Life" but balked at "Christmas in the Heart" so maybe I have a cut-off on Bob Dylan.

Anonymous said...

HA!!! this is always a peeve of mind....the Stones are in that same pantheon, of artists that in the WAY distant, distant past had things to say or creativity to spare, then by virtue of said artist STILL being alive we all have to say YES! The Rolling Stones ARE still the world's greatest rock and roll band, or YES! Clapton is still God, and S still awesome.......Neil Young, while I think I own maybe 2 of those 32 releases, he somehow doesn't bug me as much cuz at least he's channeling something he likes, quality aside.....i know, a fine line, but Neil doesn't give me quite the agita that Clapton or the Stones give me....nice post!! jim

steve simels said...

Well, all I can say is I'm not ready to give up on Lady Gaga just yet.

cmealha said...

Although I've lightened my stance on him it's gotta be Todd Rundgren. You know how I felt about him but just looking at the facts he hasn't made a listenable album since Nearly Human in 1989. I know you disagree.
I probably haven't written him off completely since I still have hope that he'll start caring again and that he would still have the ability to put out something remarkable.

Shriner said...

Neil still gets a pass from me. Though admittedly, I've borrowed his new CDs from the library rather than purchase them outright. But I always give them a listen. Same with: Paul McCartney, Brian Setzer's Orchestra, Elton John, Paul Weller, Paul Westerberg.


Aimee Mann's last few albums have me thinking I might not bother any more (sorry Aimee). Everything after the excellent "Bachelor #2" has not been as engaging.

Bowie?

Elvis Costello? I keep trying, but I don't know why I bother any more.

Peter Gabriel? That covers album may be my last straw (assuming he ever comes out with something ever that...)


Can we extend this to bands? Weezer (basically Rivers Cuomo). Steely Dan.

Liz Phair: "Funstyle" confused me. But not enough that I'm writing her off completely.

RYP said...

He is completely overrated since the end of the sixties!
Another Eric, Eric Burdon was my absolut fave untill he left War...

Sal Nunziato said...

Shriner,

I'm right there with you, re: Aimee Mann, but I guess I don't see her as having a bit enough catalogue to worry.

As for Paul Weller, I thought his last two "22 Dreams" and "Wake Up The Nation" were some of the best music he's put out since The Jam.

And maybe it would be a lot more fun hearing Costello playing rock and roll, but props must be given for his efforts, though some have been tough to listen to. ("North" and "When I Was Cruel.") His recen, stripped down, countrified records, as well as the ballsy "Momofuku" deserve more than a toss off.

I guess my gripe with Clapton and Neil is that, their releases are still big events. Clapton's new record is getting good, early reviews.

As I said, Neil doesn't bother me as much, though the output as been consistently shakey. But Clapton is unforgiveable.

Anonymous said...

If you folks are so dissatisfied with these artists, maybe you should just stop buying the records. Then the "problem" will take care of itself. Simply because these people are not living up to your standards doesn't mean they should head to the old folks home. Someone is buying their records or they wouldn't continue putting them out. These people wrote the book, show a little respect if nothing else. But if you think they're over the hill then STOP BUYING THEIR RECORDS!

Sal Nunziato said...

Easy there, Anon.

I think the respect is STILL there, which is why we keep listening.

and this--

"Someone is buying their records or they wouldn't continue putting them out."

may be a little off base. Just saying...

Michael said...

It's not too late to stop now.

Van Morrison is another artist I dearly love but have cut off. Too much mediocrity can make a man ill at ease.

I still buy every Richard Thompson CD (and see him every time he comes to town) but increasingly find the tracks hit or miss within. The guitar work is always great but increasingly in service to songs that don't measure up.

Barry S. said...

At a certain point, I think a lot of artists just have nothing left to say, so anything they put out is pretty well a matter of diminishing returns...

I used to be a big Clapton fan, but he seems to be on a certain level of auto-pilot and now just feels the need to keep going back to the well. His inspiration (other than the already mentioned Robert Johnson album) seems long gone and he just keeps putting out variations on the same mediocre album.

Neil still gets respect, in my book. I don't mind that not all of his records are spectacular, because even when he fails, he does so in a SPECTACULAR WAY. His bad albums still take chances. He still pulls out new concepts and styles that even when they don't work, are still interesting.

Dylan is someone who's albums I find a hard listen anymore. Brilliant a songwriter as he may be, there's just that feeling of sameness that kind of spreads over the whole damn thing, leaving me utterly bored. It shouldn't be that much work to get through an album...

B. Goode said...

I'll have to go with jeffen. I not only didn't buy Dylan's "Christmas In The Heart", but even refused an offer of a loan of the cd.

Gene Oberto said...

For me, it has been Stephen Stills and Steve Miller.

How can you scorch like on Super Session and play and sing so well on the first Manassas or Miller make the first five Capitol LP's, and then..........

Is it them or us, though? I don't know if Segovia continued to get better and more creative, though they called him a genius.

We see it over and over in the Arts, take DeNiro. Still got it? I'm sure he has, but he'll never be Jimmy Conway again.

My belief is that it lies in the material. Gaining proficiency with your instrument causes a jet stream of thoughts, feelings and opinions that must be released. You have comments on everything in your life, work, love, sex, name it. For years people you love and hate have been telling you what to do and say for your whole life. Now, finally, you have the freedom to say what you want.

So you do. At every marker, milepost and, yes, crossroads of your life, your compelled to talk about it.

Compare Springsteen's output during BTR and Darkness with, say The Rising. Same guy? No.

When you have all the riches, and the houses and the wives and kids, what to you write about? The Revolution? Your stock portfolio?

Clapton still plays with passion, as we know Bruce, Todd and yes, even Steve Miller can.

It's just no longer urgent! It's no longer life and death.

It's what they do.

Put it another way. After a couple of decades on the job, do we still come to work with the wild eyed enthusiasm of the "new kid"?

We'd like to think we do, but in reality, we don't

Noam Sane said...

Geez, I still think Todd's "Liars" album is exceptional, cmealha. Give it another chance. It's really vintage stuff, to me.

I too can't listen to Elvis C. any more...the guy just wasn't made to write 6-minute songs. But everything up to "Punch the Clock" still gets heavy play at my house.

I used to frequent an open-mic nite where this one guy would always play Clapton's version of "Tulsa Time". Snore. This turned into an ongoing putdown - any time somebody would play a sleepy, boring blues tune, the remark would be made that he was "living on Tulsa time". Eric Clapton, come on down!

Sal Nunziato said...

Gene,
Not being the "same guy" is a good point when discussing Bruce. No, "The Rising" is not BTR or "Darkness." But what could be found on "Tom Joad," and "Devils" and "The Rising," and "Magic," and WOAD is music that still evokes, and pushes, and speaks and cries. If 50% of each of those records is pure Bruce, it is more than we could say about yet another, lazy-ass Hoagy Carmichael cover.

I don't think anyone is expecting Layla, or Manassas, or Sailor, or Harvest from these guys. I just think we expect them to remember they still have some fans left.

And Noam, I think "Liars" could be in my Top 5 Todd albums. But don;t bother with cmealha. I've been trying since 2005.

And to all who have given up on EC, I sincerely don't get it. I understand the aversion to the Brodsky Quartet and Bacharach albums though I think both are wonderful. But, as Barry S. says, he like Neil Young takes interesting chances. He doesn't just toss off 50 minutes of uninspired garbage.

Anonymous said...

Brian Wilson. I've tried to like his recent solo albums, but sadly, I couldn't take them after a couple of listens. Listened to them the way I bowl, kind of praying for a strike, urging it down the lane with my body language, hoping hoping hoping but ending up with a gutter ball. Even the Smile record, I admire the effort and was moved by what it meant for him to complete it, but still, eh--especially compared to the original recordings. I haven't even listened to the Gershwin album. I think you liked that, didn't you Sal? I'm just afraid it would ruin both Wilson and Gershwin for me. Just. Can't. Go. There. (Wish he'd recorded it in 1966...)

Neil: that Freedom, Ragged Glory, and Harvest Moon was a pretty good run! I'm also a fan of Silver and Gold, Prairie and Living With War--maybe not at the level of his classic stuff but I still listen to them regularly. Liked Chrome Dreams II too. For me, Neil's stuff that doesn't work mostly just doesn't work, but isn't cringe-making or shameful, like, say, bad McCartney. Except for maybe that car record. Okay, that was cringe-making.

Bruce Handy

Sal Nunziato said...

Bruce,
I am with you all the way, re: Brian Wilson. You said it perfectly, even "Smile." Yes, even "Smile." But you've made it this far, listen to the Gershwin album. There may be at least a few "spares" there.

Bulletins From Mars Hill said...

I have been listening to it was well, but unlike you I really like it. It's not a fret burner and it's not a bombastic album, its a subtle album that has some beautiful playing and singing. It's a covers album that delivers in a way that 99% of covers albums don't. Play this against Phil Collins' motown album and you will see what I mean. Clapton is pushing seventy and for a man of that age I think he is remarkable.
He is never going to produce another Layla, but listen to it as a new release and without the weight of reputation or expectation and you will discover a pleasurable experience.
Clapton never was God, that title belonged to someone else, but he was and still is a fine guitarist

Sal Nunziato said...

Bulletins,
Thing is, I DID listen to it "without the weight of expectation." The reasons I stick with him are the same reasons you do. Yet each time, I feel more and more as if he is phoning it in. I truly wasn't expecting a fret burner. But knowing he could still do it, makes it all the more annoying.

Re: Phil Collins--

I actually like his upcoming covers albums. I think he did a fine job recreating the sound and I found it difficult to not smile hearing such a great collection of familiar songs. Of course, I was expecting nothing from Collins either.

jeff kisseloff said...

The Rolling Stones for me, no question. I remember Keith laughing on some documentary about how he and Mick get together to write songs, and they finally come up with something they like until they realized they had written it twenty five years ago.

did anyone mention McCartney? Maybe he doesn't count because with the exception of a few great songs, he's never been much of a solo artist. Hard to go downhill when you're already close to the bottom.

The last few Paul Simon albums haven't done much for me. And maybe Robbie Robertson just doesn't produce enough to be on the list, but talk about a precipitous fall!

mnmjr. said...

I remember giving up on Elvis Costello, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett around the same time. They'd obviously stopped making records for themselves (let alone me) and just keep making them for critics (and public radio yuppies). I imagine that's a pretty good way to make a living, but not something I need to listen to.

Anonymous said...

the question is: why does someone who has been pubblically acclaimed God in the 60s still want to tour or enter a recording studio...? greeding for more fame? contractual obligations? .. Anyway, it always makes me feel sad watching old farts, pardon stars, in the desperate attempt to be worshipped by the masses.. let's start a benefit-collection for retirement-homes for old popstars... long live Garage-Punk, still fresh and glorious even after 40 years!!!!

MichaelVee - Milano

Anonymous said...

re: Jeff Kisselhoff's comment on McCartney. For me, his solo stuff actually fits into the thread from last week, about stuff you originally hated but grew to appreciate it. I always loved Band on the Run, but I remember rushing out to buy Venus and Mars and being hugely disappointed. When I heard "Silly Love Songs" the first time I wanted to shoot myself.

I can't remember what prompted me to listen to him again. Maybe it was Flaming Pie, which I like a lot. But I remember at some point in the last 10 years I started relistening to the Wings albums and what once struck me as wimpy and "commercial" now strikes me as inspired craftsmanship--stuff that's often really ambitious in its way. (And even Silly Love Songs has that amazing bassline!) Which isn't to say there aren't cringe-making songs on every album, and oftentimes it's best to tune out the lyrics and focus on the music (e.g. about a million examples) but still I listen to McCartney's solo stuff way more than I do Lennon's. I'll take Back to the Egg or Londontown, say, over Mind Games or Walls and Bridges any day of the week. That said, I also won't listen to anything from McCartney II to Flaming Pie, except for Flowers in the Dirt.

Bruce Handy

Anonymous said...

Sal, Sal, Sal . . . how do you really feel about Slowhand?

Sal Nunziato said...

"Sal, Sal, Sal . . . how do you really feel about Slowhand?"

The album or the man?

whatever1964 said...

Gotta agree with cmealha about Rundgren... it's like he doesn't even try anymore... remember way back when comic George Miller was always on Letterman saying he was "the comic in search of a gimmick"? Rundgren seems to have turned into the musician searching for a gimmick... he used to be so fiercely creative... I loved picking apart his LPs (as in "How did he DO that?"), but his output has become uninspiring to me.... BTW, I never cared for Clapton, anyway...

Eric said...

i'd love to hear a guitar instrumental affair with EC and Prince, the most under-appreciated ro ck guitar hero of the last decade.

i think EC's material collapsed when his son tumbled out the window----followed by the tears in heaven rebirth that brought in every weeping radio/MTV listener with a 9th grade music education...

i guess u are not applying jazz or country to this wood....

soundsource said...

interesting topic and obviously one that got some response. I think it's hard for any musician or artist to keep up the peak level of creativity for a very long time. To me the question is how they deal with it. Retire, pander, experiment, reinvention, collaboration, just keep turning out more of the same old stuff I'm not really sure. I do tend to give people credit for the glorious effort even if it falls short and in the case of Robert Plant you have someone who succeeds with surprising regularity. Did I have a point, not really more like a rumination.

Shriner said...

Since I first brought up Costello...

The Bacharach album -- I loved. From top to bottom. "God Give Me Strength" is one of my top 5 songs from the last 10 years. Brilliant.


I'm one of those that thinks Elvis needs a collaborator to kick his ass in gear now. Or Bruce Thomas back in his band to set him straight.


The last McCartney albums I really, really liked had him working with more collaborators too (EC, Eric Stewart).


One of the upcoming albums I'm looking forward to hearing is the Elton John/Leon Russell disk. I think more of those old-timers should probably do things like that more often. Maybe a Clapton/Beck album would kick a bit more ass on both sides?

Anonymous said...

I think it's still too early to tell, for, like everyone except Clapton. He's been running on fumes for 40 years. I mean, no, I'm not going to actually buy a new Lou Reed/ Stones/ Neil Young /Bob Dylan album, but I'll probably give them a listen.

Why? Well, how about those Tom Jones, Peter Wolf, Mavis Staples, and Robert Plant albums from this year, that I'm pretty sure I heard about here first? There's a bunch of people whom, one might assume, saw their best years 30 or 40 years ago.

And yet... they still do kick some ass, do they not? So who knows that *any* of these old warhorses still have in 'em, if only the right producer or set of circumstances can get it out of 'em...

Big Jim Slade said...

Momofuku!

It surprised me, I really like it.

I haven't even considered buying a new Clapton recording. Well, I considered the one he did with JJ Cale, but never pulled the trigger. And I had a grandma who lived in Escondido!

Like others have said, at least Neil is an ornery old bugger who will take some chances.

Anonymous said...

Never was a Clapton or Dylan fan, so nothing to give up. I love The Stones, but there has always been some pretty gruesome stuff in their catalog, so they keep me hanging on. REM went south some time ago, they coulda been a contender.

Jeff Kisseloff said...

I think John Hiatt is right on. What a disappointment he's been for the last few years. One more that comes to mind for me, and this is a little bit of an embarrassment, mostly because I think he's so terrible now that he's become a brand that people forget that when Jimmy Buffett first started he wrote quite a few wonderful songs ("A Pirate Looks at 40" for one). I love his first three or four albums, but then he started burning out and recording the songs of his untalented friends and then of course once he got really terrible he became huge. Good for him, but too bad for his music. I still listen to Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season and most of the material on "Living and Dying in 3/4 Time" and "White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean."

Anonymous said...

Read the comments on your wall...I'll give you a tidbit...will You be remembered in 50 years?...he must be doing something right..if not just for himself, but for a fan core that listens for easy pleasure, not the pithiest asides in all of blogdom...yours truly, not so anonymous.

cooljerk said...

sal...another thought-provoking question from you...i've got that problem with too many of my old heroes...artists i've loved in the past i no longer listen to at all, aside from their early work. probably standing at the top of the heap, the poster boy, i could say, is rod stewart, who was so great with jeff beck, on his first two solo albums and even with the faces...and then it was all downhill...a trainwreck...a bad joke...(i think you get my drift)...steven

Anonymous said...

Funny...by your criteria, Rundgren should have been fork-stuck a long time ago, but you still put down your change to see him..it's what you get out of it, and what the artist gets out of it that counts...an anonymous comment you summarily dismissed with an"easy now" reply was right on the mark...don't like the preview, don't spend the money...and god knows, don't let the critic stop you...sorry, dude.

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. Asking someone, anyone NOT to make music is a little unsettling. Particularly when you hear what's being passed off for music these days. I'll take a new record by ANY one of those artists that you'd like to put out to pasture if I never had to listen to what's on the radio now.

Anonymous said...

Pleeaaase add to the top of this list Mr Paul McCartney! Not one decent album since the Beatles!! Maybe an occasional tune here and there, but for Chrissakes he even released "Mary Had A Little Lamb" as a 45! Brilliant stuff w/the Beatles, but then his talent ran dry. I guess John was the band. Stopped buying his albums after the 1st one.

Anonymous said...

Pleeaaase add to the top of this list Mr Paul McCartney! Not one decent album since the Beatles!! Maybe an occasional tune here and there, but for Chrissakes he even released "Mary Had A Little Lamb" as a 45! Brilliant stuff w/the Beatles, but then his talent ran dry. I guess John was the band. Stopped buying his albums after the 1st one.

Jeff in Denton TX said...

I'm still loyal to a few artists, deserving or not. Van Morrison, The Moody Blues, Bruce Springsteen and Rush are mine. All past their primes (maybe not Bruce), but I can usually find something of value in a newer release, even if the whole album isn't at the highest level. I'm sure you have a few posters who don't think the middle 2 deserved any loyalty in the first place, but it's my list, dammit. The Moodies, at least, have come to grips with their status as a nostalgia act and rarely put out new material (3 studio albums in the last 20 years--the most recent being a Christmas album).

Sadly, I agree with you on Clapton (and I even actually kinda liked "Behind the Sun").

Anonymous said...

i really don't care about Clapton , never have never will , but if you're looking for someone with a near perfect discography you'll have to buy a whole lot of Robyn Hitchcock records.
Try the acoustic side with "i often dream of trains" and the pop side with his last one "propellor time".

Sal Nunziato said...

To Anonymous who mentioned that according to my criteria, "Rundgren should have been fork-stuck a while ago"

Though I do have an occasional feature here devoted to the man, if you do a little research, you will see more than a fair share of fork-sticking in Todd, both on these pages and on the Huffington Post.

Yes, I still "put down my change" to see Todd AND what is hardly "change" to see Clapton. It's because I do think these war horses still have something inside them.

As for Anonymous, or should I say, "not so anonymous" asking if I "will be remembered in 50 years," well I guess you don't think so. I guess blood isn't thicker than water.

And finally, to all who are worried that Mr Clapton may actually listen to me and stop making records, relax. It's a title for a blog piece.

Lighten up and enjoy the discussion.

soundsource said...

will burning wood be remembered in fifty years, well to paraphrase the fork marked Todd Rundgren...."a blog goes on forever"......maybe?

big bad wolf said...

sal, that last comment of yours bummed me out. i was hopeful that you were persuasive or powerful enough to get clapton to stop making records. it really has been alsmost 40 years since he recorded an album that was worth a dime.

like you, i give neil young, more slack. in part this is because neil has always been kind of a savant---even when his albums are great (it's been awhile)i never listen to them thinking, he's got it. i listen thinking damn he's weird, this is kind of odd, and it's briliant. how does one reliably produce eccentric brilliance? another difference to me is that neil never sounds ossified, as clapton has since the early 1970s. i think that shows even in clapton's blues playing of the last decade---there's technique but no life. neil, perhaps becuase he is a bit odd, fails, but never strikes me as worn out. and sometimes even the stuff that should annoy me, the 14 minute change your mind from sleeps with angels comes to mind, ends up fascinating me.

dylan, i think, has aged well and in an impressively well thought out way. he was the brilliant young man who with his superior thinking and writing vanquished those boring folkies, old and young, showing them to be boring and banal, if well-intentioned. then after the run from planet waves to desire, he crashed, no longer the profilic and brash writer. he stumbles around for 15 years (i thought he was done for sure with under the red sky) before a stunning and worthwhile reinvention as not the wise elder statesman, but as a piece, although a very clever and insightful piece, of a much larger, living and ongoing musical tradition. conservative, in a way, but radical too in how he uses older forms to critique and undermine the boring and banal just as he did with electric guitars and withering words in the 60s.

still he leaves, as tell tale signs showed, a lot of good tracks off the albums and he does like lanois as a producer, always a mistake.

of course i didn't buy the christmas album, but then i never do.

Sal Nunziato said...

One more thing about the title of this particular piece---

A friend just asked me off the page, "Do you really think Eric Clapton should stop making records?"

Since a few of you found that statement "unsettling," let me expound.

Should anyone stop? No. I don't think anyone should stop. But maybe Eric Clapton needs to stop this particular formula.

Look what Ry Cooder did For Mavis Staples. Or, Joe Henry for Solomon Burke and Allen Toussaint. Or Rick Rubin for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond.

Glenn said...

Rod Stewart. I am SO embarrassed by him and his karaoke show. His early Mercury output still gets regular play from me but he really should have hung up his boots years ago.

anythingshouldhappen said...

Wow what a lot to wade through.

Shriner - I can nod at some of your list, but Neil Young has never sold that many albums and recently there had been a vast improvement.

I'm with Sal on Costello, some are hard, yeah you wish it was 1977 again, but he's put out some fine stuff in the intervening years.

Weezer - I've just remarked on the same thing on the Street Date thread.

The show a little respect post was incredulous. We buy because we are fans and we want to like their albums.

If we don't like someone, we are allowed to say that. I think Clapton has been rubbish for at least 35 years, McCartney too, I am allowed to say that as I am allowed an opinion.

anythingshouldhappen said...

I've read all the comments and I may show some "lack of respect" but Clapton and McCartney are two of the same for me.

One played some great guitar, took a lot of drugs and was never the same. Since then we have been treated to the same solo interspersed with Blues covers and touring with Elton John (who at least as released one good album since 1977) and Mark Knopfler.

The most entertaining thing on his tour with Elton John was the bald one's hats.

McCartney has been rubbish since Band On The Run, Flaming Pie was a decent album and errrr that's it. Dance Tonight anyone?

I normally agree a lot with Shriner but his stuff with Eric Stewart was dreadful, he managed to hook up with Stewart just as he's lost it.

My opinion won't matter to any Clapton fan and nor should it.

I though for one will remember Sal in 50 years times and I'd also ask what Clapton is remembered for now.

Because that's the point really - Tears in Heaven and Wonderful Tonight since Layla?

Anyone want to disagree?

Max Frost said...

I'll never give up on Dylan or Waits. I just have faith in Dylan that he's smarter than me...he releases something I don't like, well, then it must be ME....I don't get what he's trying to do. I wasn't knocked out by Together Through Life, but I know, I feel, that there's something there. As a youngster, I was blown away by Costello--everything was pure genius right up until Punch the Clock, which suckity suck suck sucked, and he hasn't stopped sucking since. And we all know the Stones have been rubbish since 1978, right after Some Girls. And, I mean, it hurts me to say this, but didn't we all give up on the Ramones after a while? And they didn't deserve being walked out on, did they? God bless 'em. Oh, and Clapton? Always sucked, the Layla album notwithstanding, let's give some credit to Duane Allman there. But Clapton? Fuck him, he's right down there with Sting and Paul McCartney in my book. The three of them are more dangerous to rock and roll than Johnny Rotten ever was.

draftervoi said...

For me, a lot depends on what I pay for it. If I pick up Neil Young's latest in perfect condition for $4.95 and there's...oh, one song I like... I don't feel cheated. But pay $19.95 to get the "deluxe" edition with a DVD that I'll watch maybe once? Ah, I'm less than enthused about it.

I also think we-the-consumer suffer from artist-burnout; where you've just heard something (or a sound, a guitar tone...) too many times. Hey, "Maggie Mae" is frickin' brilliant but I only want to hear it five or six more times before I die. And I'll hear it five or six more time this year....

Anonymous said...

Gosh Anything - don't recall anyone trying to rob you of your opinion...

FRANCIE said...

HiSal, At the age of 57 I feel lucky to have heard all the above mentioned at "THEIR BEST". I feel the same about having seen their live shows. I feel many have had a "rough" "Tough" life although they make it look otherwise.In my opinion Todd is a GENIUS always will be and has nothing to prove.I think BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S music mimics his peronal life,which is wonderful and he will never "LOSE IT". He can write fresh songs, and still "PUTS IT OUT THERE" on stage.These are the only two I take seriously anymore. MUSIC is an incredable gift, I enjoy something different daily!
I am ashamed to admit that i listen to the oldied radio station very often and just "SING & DANCE" to these fun,memorabl,and hits we dom't think about anymore!!!!

Anonymous said...

I remember when Joe Willie went to The Rams some people do not know when to give it up!

knownote said...

I totally agree about this new Clapton album. I mostly agree about his recording history. I only partially agree on that because I've liked some of his songs up through the 80's. (although never an "album" only specific songs)

As a musician myself, I can attest that Blues music is naturally the laziest style of music as far as playing. Only a handful of chord progressions, mostly all the same chord progression, just different keys. Case in point, you ever notice that everytime you have a "jam" of superstars onstage, it's almost ALWAYS to a blues progression? Why? because it's easy and they don't have to rehearse much.
I thought Clapton was at his best when he was doing blues "tinged" rock and roll. More interesting progressions, greater degree of difficulty.
I posted on the sidebar of my blog my two word review of this latest album. "SLEEPY" and "BORING".
And come on...he's even got rag time sounding music on this thing. It was torture to get through this thing. It almost brought tears to my eyes.

David Handelman said...

I think many people have their most creative, unselfconscious bursts of talent in their 20s. We have lionized so many who died young (Hendrix, Joplin, Jim Morrison, even Lennon, at this point) because we never had to watch them grow old and irrelevant.

I don't think any of these people (except Neil, who has a perverse streak) puts out a record as a fuck you to fans or record companies; but I do think their ear, their ability to find the magic, to be in sync with the times, is almost impossible to sustain.

I'm the biggest Bruce fan in the world, but I only listen to about half of the Rising and maybe one or two songs after that, but he is much more vibrant than many of the others discussed here, because he's like a patron of music -- he brings on stage and collaborates with people like Alejandro Escovido, or Tom Morello (or Sam Moore, or Elvis Costello) because he's a fan, not because he's trying to hold on to relevance.

People like the Stones piss me off, because they have so much money and seem like a brand of beer at this point. REM lost everything when they lost their drummer -- who knew that would be so?

Etc.

63c0322e-559e-11e0-8768-000bcdcb471e said...

I hung in there with The Who at least through "It's Hard" (which I genuinely liked). But, boy has it gotten ugly since Y2K, not least because their live act shortcomings have reached the embarrassing point. I wish Pete would write for some other artist. Roger should take up golf.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry beforehand for being mean-especially because I have a nagging feeling that you guys are all my dad's age. I apologize- I am usually rather polite. To the point-
I am not a baby boomer- far from it- I am from facebook generation- I didn't go to Beatles concerts for 6 dollars a tickets- I had to pay 800 dollars while being in college to get tickets and I didnt rebel man- against the "adults" I got tickets for my mom and dad as a present to see Paul McCartney. Just to see 1/4 of Beatles. John Lennon was dead when I was born. I didnt have a chance to compare the two and see which one was "the band" as one of the users so eloquently put- and maybe because of that I never compared which one is better- i just love them all equally and separately. My dad says the same dumb things about Eric Clapton as you guys do. "He is not the same bla-bla" You know what? My first album ever bought with my pocket money was "Eric Clapton Unplugged" and damn it was TOTALLY worth it.
Yes they have changed- they have aged and they have become mellower and maybe just maybe the fingers and the hearing is not the same- but have you all seen yourselves in the mirror lately- can you do the things you used to do when you were young? Would you?
BELIEVE me when I say this- nowdays music SUCKS!!!! I can repeat again SUCKS!! Lady GAGA? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? Autotune on most of the music- no lyrics, no music- just minute-maid- you tube- ready- heard-forgot songs... There are some good stuff- I am following current trends, but I would not dream about bashing gods of rock'n'roll.
I would trade my generation music to a chance to hear disraeli gears when it just came out- but I can't - what I can do is to buy the new Clapton albums and be happy that the man is still alive and playing-because once he is gone- there only John Mayer left and just check him out- you WILL regret doing so!!! All songs are the same..
I guess what I am trying to say is these people made your generation what it was and what it is.. Own up- they are better than anything else in 20th century- they made you better and you made them more talented as fans. Yes they have aged, but an old lion is still a lion and a young toad is still a toad. When I watch the Abbey Road and see those pedestrians just walking by as Beatles is playing its last concert- I don't know.. I just want a time machine to go and shake those people up and tell them just what they are missing..
Stop bashing guitar gods!!