Oh no you don’t.
If I’m paid to, or I’m caught in a moment of weakness, I will argue about the Beatles or the Stones or some other ancient male Caucasians who transformed popular music in the decade before my birth. (I’ll listen to those guys happily; that’s not the same thing at all.)
But I will not debate the merits of Eric Fucking Clapton five decades after his only undeniable masterpiece and nearly three decades after he embalmed its title track and made the Minivanization of Boomer rock inevitable on MTV’s Unplugged.
(I know that sounds like debating there but I am simply stating facts with which any reasonable person will concur.)
“But Keith,” you may ask, out of concern or annoyance, “who is making you talk about ol’ Slowhand in this day and age?”
“It’s...” I sigh and slump forward “...The Internet.”
A quick recap for the more healthily offline of you out there. In an interview with Australia's Double J, the critically acclaimed and feverishly beloved singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers recently called Clapton's music "extremely mediocre." This, predictably, upset many classic rock fans on the internet, especially of a certain equally predictable demographic.
This is the part of the story where I usually embed a bunch of tweets and guide you through the discussion and we all share a chortle. I will not embed. I will not chortle. Because. I. Don’t. Care.
There is literally nothing you can say about Eric Clapton in the year two-thousand-and-twenty that could keep my attention until you reach the end of a single sentence. It has been said before. I have heard it before. I have possibly even said it before. I have agreed. I have disagreed. I have other matters to attend to.
Yes, I have “paid my dues” as bluesmen like Clapton say—I even live-blogged the version of “Jingle Bells” he recorded for Avicii a couple years ago. But I have reached a spot where it is time to make a decision—a crossroads, you might say—and I swear now upon the graves of Robert Johnson, Ginger Baker, and baby Conor Clapton that my Eric-Clapton-opinion-having days are behind me.
OK, except I will say that I still like some of his work as a sideman in the late ’60s with Delaney & Bonnie. What do you think of this, Phoebe?