The guitar god takes a journey down memory lane and pays tribute to his musical influences with the release of his 21st studio effort, 'Old Sock'
ERIC CLAPTON/ OLD SOCK
Here's a guy who doesn't really need an introduction. The 68-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist has remained a household name throughout his long career, which began in the early '60s. Primarily known for his blues rock sound, Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
His incredible guitar skills are unarguably among the world's finest, having made lists of the most important and influential guitarists of all time (second in Rolling Stone's the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, fourth in Gibson's Top 50 Guitarists of All Time and many more).
Clapton has, over a period of five decades, accumulated more than a handful of hit singles. Tracks such as the multi Grammy Award-winning Tears in Heaven, Wonderful Tonight, Knockin' On Heaven's Door and Change the World are some of the most well known, and, especially here in Thailand, extensively played and covered by local bands from several generations.
Scan through any oldies compilation CDs, and you'll almost always find at least a few of Clapton's classics wedged between Simply Red and Rod Stewart.
With his numerous awards, accolades, wealth and fame, Slowhand shows no signs of slowing down. He follows up his eponymously titled 2010 studio album with his 21st, officially marking a half century in the music industry. Unlike his previous offerings, Old Sock is perhaps Clapton at his most chilled-out (check out the album cover on which he's captured wearing a pair of sunglasses and a straw hat, appearing to be revelling in the tropical climate). Part of this lies in the fact that the record predominantly contains covers (only two out of the 12 tracks are new material), and pays tribute to his musical influences.
The sound of this album can be largely divided into two categories _ reggae-infused rhythms (Taj Mahal's Further on Down the Road, Ira Gershwins' Our Love is Here to Stay) and bluesy/country acoustic numbers (Ray Charles' Born to Lose, Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons' All of Me). Clapton has also recruited fellow artists including Chaka Khan, Paul McCartney and Steve Winwood, as well as a group of children (Every Little Thing) to appear on the record. There are some other oldies here too such as Otis Redding's Your One and Only Man, blues standard Goodnight Irene and Peter Tosh's Till Your Well Runs Dry.
The highlight and the shiniest moment of the album, though, is a new tune called Gotta Get Over, on which Clapton does what he does best _ bluesy guitar intro with a gospel choir.
Just from this track alone, the rock god has proven once more that he's still very much got it. Fan or not, Old Sock is an album that will provide the perfect soundtrack to a lazy day in the sun.
Somkiat/ Kon Tee Yung Mai Prom
After winning the 2010 Coke Music Awards, homegrown indie rockers Somkiat (not to be confused with veteran remixer Zomkiat "Mr Z" Ariyachaipanich) continue to churn out radio-friendly alt-rock gems this year with Kon Tee Yung Mai Prom (The One Who's Not Ready to Move On). The track features equal parts contagious chorus and melodic guitars, and should sit well with those who can't get enough of Thai-style rock. As the title suggests, the song is about a heartbroken man who doesn't feel like he's ready to start a new relationship. "Before I can take care of anyone else, I must first take care of me," sings frontman Kanawin "Boat" Cheartaw.
Ariana Grande (featuring Mac Miller)/ The Way
American actress-turned-singer Ariana Grande teams up with rapper Mac Miller to deliver yet another contender for this year's summer anthem. Taken from her debut album, Daydreamin', The Way finds the Broadway and Nickelodeon starlet chirping over bubbly piano and old school R&B melody ("I've got a bad boy I must admit it/You got my heart don't know how you did it") while Mac Miller flirts back, dangerously crossing the PG-13 line: "I hope you hit me on my cell when I sneak in your mind/You're a princess to the public, but a freak when it's time."
Little Mix (featuring Missy Ellioit)/ How Ya Doin'?
It's an every artist's dream to penetrate the cut-throat US music market and British girl band Little Mix are no exception. Winners of the 2011 X Factor, the pop quartet gear up for the upcoming US release of their debut studio album, DNA, by recruiting Missy Elliot to help with their latest single, How Ya Doin'? Here, the girls put a funky spin on Curiosity Killed The Cat's 1989 single Name And Number while Missy lays down her trademark flawless verses, reminding us again why she's always been one of the most talented female rappers in the business.
Beyonce/ Grown Woman
After surprising her fans with the weird and wonderful double track Bow Down/I Been On a few weeks back, Queen Bey is back again with a new single appropriately titled Grown Woman. Produced exclusively for the new Pepsi commercial featuring none other than the queen herself, the song fits Beyonce's view of female-empowerment, and could be included as part of the set list for her "Mrs Carter Show" world tour. Fans who are still shell-shocked by Bow Down/I Been On should find it easy to embrace the song's standard beat-driven Beyonce sound, with an infectious chorus, that everybody's well accustomed to.
Charlie Brown/ On My Way
Having previously worked with some of UK's biggest names in hip hop such as Professor Green, Dappy of N-Dubz and Tinchy Stryder, rising British singer-songwriter Charlie Brown has finally decided to go solo. On My Way is the first single from his yet-to-be-titled debut studio album and features a well-balanced blend of pop, soul and R&B. Equipped with a soulful voice, the 27-year-old singer tells us about the challenges he faces in life and how he's on his way to overcoming them. Catchy and uplifting, the track is undoubtedly poised to becoming one of this year's biggest hits.
About the author
Writer: Chanun Poomsawai