1989 found music on the cusp of something new. The 80's embraced excess, but a new decade brought new sensibilities. Clapton was no stranger to change, but find himself a member of rock royalty, and in a place where he could do whatever he wanted to do. His heart was always in the blues, and with the strength of his guitar. He bid farewell to the 80's with "Journeyman", an album from a man who had bounced from band to band, then from style to style, and maybe was ready to settle down.
But not without a fight; the album opens with "Pretending", which begins with a piano into, perhaps pretending that it will be something completely different before Clapton's trademark guitar kicks in. This is a good, upbeat rocker, a good way to kick off the album, and a single that would see some chart success.
Clapton loves the blues, and they are well represented here. "Hounds Dog" is a very different take on the sing you know. "Before You Accuse Me" is classic blues in content and structure.
The jewel of the album is "Bad Love". It's a slickly produced song, but with some real biting guitars, and the best solo on the album. The album never loses it's attachment to the blues, by remains accessible to the popular music fan, to date the last time Clapton was able the accomplish this in a studio album. He's since gone headfirst into adult contemporary and early blues, fine stuff, but without the ballsy licks of Journeyman. This is his commercial peak, and the end of his connection to the current scene, but he goes out with a bang. An excellent listen.