Eric Clapton, ‘Old Sock’ – Album Review
There comes a point in most artistsâ careers where they just donât care about making records anymore. Or at least they donât care about making records that their fans want to hear. They tour sporadically, playing the old songs to pay the bills. And they release new albums every five years or so because they feel itâs something they should do. Eric Clapton got to this point years ago, but on his 21st solo album, âOld Sock,â he settles into not caring like itâs his full-time job these days.
Consisting of 10 cover songs and two new originals, âOld Sockâ is a stroll down memory lane for Clapton, who rolls through pre-World War II songs like âAll of Meâ and âGoodnight Ireneâ with an ease that suits the 67-year-old former guitar god. But boarding Claptonâs nostalgia bus wonât take you to the Mississippi Delta or any other blues mecca that inspired his greatest years. Most of these songs have been tucked away since his childhood, when his parents listened to the same standards that your grandma and grandpa loved back in the day.
There are many bad moments on âOld Sock,â from the faux-reggae rhythms that take up what seems like half the album to the acoustic old-timey covers that youâll likely forget as soon as theyâre over. Then thereâs the group of kids that chimes in, way off-key, on the sappy sing-along âEvery Little Thing.â
The nostalgia tripâs guest list includes a mix of heroes and contemporaries — J.J. Cale, Chaka Khan, Paul McCartney, Taj Mahal and Steve Winwood all show up on âOld Sock,â lending support to Clapton like one would to a hammy old uncle who bum-rushes the mic at a grandnieceâs wedding to belt a few songs with the band. Thereâs little commitment to the music here and even less enthusiasm.
Still, a bluesy shuffle and spirited old-school guitar solo manage to muscle their way into âGotta Get Over,â and Claptonâs voice has settled into its warm tones naturally over the years. But like its godawful cover photo â featuring what appears to be a smartphone vacation pic of Clapton, who looks none too happy to have been interrupted from his al fresco iced tea — âOld Sockâ sounds like it was recorded cheaply and quickly, in between midday naps. Like heâs so over this record-making thing.