Sound — 9
The attitude of the record is obvious as you open a CD booklet: "This album is dedicated to the memory of..." The number and of people Eric Clapton calls his teachers and dedicates his record to makes you realize -? this guy rocked the world when you maybe weren't even born and he has so much more experience behind (including 40 solo albums and 16 Grammies), than most of the artists you recently listened to. "Back Home" is Eric Clapton's first original material in five years since "Reptile" in 2001. On "Back Home" you can hear, among others, such excellent musicians as Steve Gadd (drums), Nathan East (bass), Billy Preston (keyboards). The list of all people, playing and singing on the album, is impressive and takes a whole page in CD booklet. Even though the album is very solid and seems like all songs are just another modern classic and arranged in the same way, but if you listen carefully, you'll find blues-rock, R&B, reggae, pop. As well as his solo compositions, the record includes some covers (George Harrison's "Love Comes to Everyone," The Spinners' "Love Don't Love Nobody," "I'm Going Left" from Stevie Wonder and Syreeta Wright) and songs, written with partner Simon Climie. Clapton plays guitar effortlessly and relaxed, great riffs sound easy in his performance. I'm actually quite happy it's not another "vanity fair" from a guy, who can play guitar better, than anybody else, like most Santana's records. Here you hear songs and most of the time Clapton's guitar is imperceptible, being a part of the variety of sounds in the song and supplementing it. It's obvious Clapton is more interested in creating comprehensive sound, than showing his guitar gymnastics. There is no really impressive guitar, drums, keyboard or vocal work, but that's what makes the record easy to listen to and enjoyable. Everything is simple and smooth. All songs are toe-tapping and have catchy melody lines, after a few listens, you find yourself singing along. "So Tired" is a song about recently discovered by Clapton parental life. He reveals that you can actually get tired of your kid and, to strengthen the message, the song includes a baby cry. Adult ballad "Love Don't Love Nobody" has one of the most impressive bluesy guitar solo. What freaked my out was the "Lost And Found" has no end -? it just breaks in the middle of guitar solo.
Lyrics — 8
The album is filled with the mood of a man, being happy with his life. He finds joy in little every-day things, "sweet simple moments" of family life "Sometimes I think that I'm too old for this/I must have better things to do/But when it's time for my good-night kiss/My dreams have all come true." Like he was taught to love music, listening to Syreeta Wright, Phillipe Wynn, Rick Danko, Ray Charles and Richard Manuel (as he says in his thank-you message), he's now teaching us to appreciate life. Clapton's vocals are soulful and calm and at the same time with the feel of energy that he has found being "Back Home." Gospel choir back vocals create a juicy solid support.
Overall Impression — 8
"Back Home" is tastefully recorded and has a polished to perfection sound. The album is more mature and laid-back, than any of his previous ones. You might find it not interesting as it doesn't contain any suffering or anger, but hey, songs shouldn't always be about pain. Clapton is very comfortable in his age and he makes music that people like being 60. If you can take music as it is, without your own expectations of excitement in every song, you're gonna enjoy "Back Home." It's a perfect album to listen to sitting in front of a fire place with a cup of hot chocolate. That's not a must-have record and it probably won't become your favorite one. With "Back Home", this guitar giant didn't make a revolution in music industry, he just made an album more perfect, than many records of this kind, giving us the opportunity to enjoy to his undeniably talented work once again.