Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Tears in Heaven" song analysis

Eric Clapton is an extremely famous and talented blues rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, and composer. He is known as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Clapton has been inducted three separate times into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not only as a member of the bands The Yardbirds and Cream, but also as a solo artist. Clapton’s interest in music led to him joining a band at the age of seventeen, called “The Roosters”. His early influences were Buddy Guy, Freddy King and B. B. King, who are mostly blues singers, but he was passionate about his music and started mixing the blues with rock. After, he began his solo career and he had to endure stints with drugs, alcohol, infidelity and divorce. He has suffered many losses in his life which included the death of his half brother, the death of some of his crew members and most importantly, and the death that affected Clapton the most, the death of his four year old son Connor. Clapton expresses his despair and grief about the death of his son with his song “Tears in Heaven.” In Eric Clapton’s song “Tears in Heaven” he shows despair and sadness through the poetic devices and through the loss of his son.

Eric Clapton’s song “Tears in Heaven” is about the grief and pain he suffered after the loss of his 4-year old son Connor. In the verses, Clapton says “Will it be the same.” This heartbreaking verse lets the listener feel the pain of losing a loved one. The listener, along with Clapton, experiences the feeling of not knowing what type of relationship would be shared if they were together again in heaven and it is left as an unanswered question giving it all the more meaning and sentiment. This song relates to my theme and genre because my theme is anger and despair in rock and alternative music. Even though the songwriter is blues influenced, it is still considered a classical blues rock song. The despair is definitely shown in the lyrics and the mood of Clapton is a somber one, all the while allowing the listener to feel the despair throughout the song.

In the song Eric Clapton uses poetic devices to show despair. The theme of the song is tragedy and grief. Clearly the loss of a child brings a parent an unimaginable pain and this pain is what Clapton used to express himself throughout the song. This song is also a narrative song as Clapton is telling the story of how the loss of his son affected him. The sadness he felt when his son died left him with unanswered questions. This song is also a lyric poem because it expresses the feeling of grief, despair, and pain. In the lyric’s Clapton uses couplets such as “I’ll find my way, through night and day /Cause I know I just can’t stay” and also “I must be strong, and carry on /Cause I know I don’t belong”. These couplets help pull the lyrics together with a rhyming sequence to help the flow of the music. When a loved one dies most people use phrases such as “give it time”, in Clapton bridge he says “Time can bring you down/Time can bend your knee/Time can break your heart”. This shows the feeling of how time passing can also be heartbreaking to a grieving person.

Thus, in Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” the theme of despair is evident throughout the song. Clapton’s very well written song uses the elements of lyric poem, and couplets that allow the listener not only hear the despair and sadness that Clapton feels, but allows the listeners to feel it too. The loss of a child is devastating and in Clapton’s song, that heartbreak is conveyed to the listener. This song is portrayed like Clapton is telling a story. The song is one that many people can relate to. Most people have lost someone they have loved, and this song can help a person relate to their feelings of despair and knowing others have experienced the same pain.

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