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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Another Crossroads for Eric.
on July 22, 1998
When I had to give this album a rating, I almost gave it a subjective four stars. I thought, if every song on the album was perfect, I'd give it five stars ... But then something struck me. This album is so radically different, so truly new, that it deserves a five star rating. How many artists have ever been able to reinvent themselves as successfully as Eric Clapton? Very, very few. And I'm not judging his success by the album's rating on the charts, or how much money he'll make off of it. Eric's career is so well established that it's written in the stars. I'm judging his success by the songs and workmanship on the album itself. His voice has grown to fit him, and his vocal range is astounding, especially after going back and listening to his early vocal work with The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes and Blind Faith. Yes, his guitar work is subtle on this album, but subtle like the brush strokes of Michelangelo on the Sistine Ceiling. Volume ! isn't everything, sometimes softness can be more powerful. "River of Tears" is a song for anyone who has ever suffered a loss. Go someplace quiet and just listen to it. It will wash over you like a gentle hand, wiping your pain away. And that's what this album is really all about. Clapton discusses it in the Pilgrim tour book, how most of the songs were inspired by a recent love he lost. Music, to Mr. Clapton, is a means of healing. "Circus", a song he wrote about his son Conor, proves that Eric is still healing from the loss of his son, and probably always will be. But there are high volume songs on this album, too. "Sick and Tired", a Clapton-penned blues rocker is an electrified tribute to the Texas Blues of Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Clapton's playing on this one is absolutely jubilant. And "She's Gone" is pure Clapton dynamite. Just listen to it. Basically, Eric took a chance and laid it all out for this album. He t! urned a page, and tried a new musical direction. His sound! is still there, but it has somewhere to go other than backwards. And though the songs are heavy and often sad, they're ultimately an exercise in moving on. Eric Clapton has had the blues, but he's making music about them. That's what it's all about.