Sound — 8
The first point to make about this album is that it is definetly a typical 1980s sound. It is very pop-orientated which Eric himself didn't like on account of being a blues purist. However the musicianship here is as excellent as expected, as Clapton got an A-list lineup including Phil Collins on the drums and Tina Turner on the feisty duet "Tearing us apart", which is perhaps the bluesiest track on the album. The album ranges from mellow, ballady songs like "Holy Mother" and "Hold on" to catchy, addictive, synthesised pop like "Behind the mask", to the raunchiest tracks "Tearing us apart" and especially fan favourite, "Miss you", which is probably the lead guitar highlight of the album. As this is Clapton I have to mention the lead guitar, and this album is pretty consistent with the pretty, "woman" tone and emotive, not overly complex playing Clapton had established as his style at this time. Apart from on select tracks it is not that much of a guitar hero album in the gob smacking excellence kind of way, but only because all the instruments on this album stand out as being beautifully played, and it is not just the Eric show. For example some of the nicest solos on the album are saxaphone on "Run" and Stevie Wonder-esque "Bad influence", which also boasts harmonica that really goes with Claptons smooth, weepy leads.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically it is typical Clapton in that they are virtually all very romantic songs. Some are a little repetitive and annoying like "Its in the way that you use it", which was actually alot of peoples favourite but has one key change too many for me. Clapton has received flack for his vocals from time to time, but on "August" I feel that he is a convincing singer, whos soft lilt is actually quite touching on "Hold on" and "Holy Mother", although the guitar is obviously the best outlet for Claptons emotions, and more than compensates for his limited vocal range. He and Tina Turner sound great together on "Tearing us apart".
Overall Impression — 8
"August" is a funny album in that it failed to generate any massive hits despite being one of Claptons biggest sellers, and it is undeniably loaded with decent hooks. The songs go together as a body of work, you can listen to it easily without track skipping. Although some of the songs are a little middle of the road, and it is very sentimental and probably not Claptons best guitar record, there is something very enduring and sweet about "August". It is eighties, commercial, radio music, yet executed beautifully with class and experienced musicianship.