Music | August 27, 2021 4:52 pm

Eric Clapton Debuted “This Has Gotta Stop.” Yes, It’s About Vaccines.

It also has something to do with climate change

Eric Clapton, 2020
Eric Clapton and Iain Paice perform at the Music For Marsden 2020 at The O2 Arena on March 3, 2020 in London, England.
Neil Lupin/Redferns

Well, Eric Clapton is talking about vaccines again, and it remains decidedly not good. And by “talking,” we mean “singing.” Rolling Stone has details of Clapton’s new single, titled “This Has Gotta Stop,” which is about vaccines, at least in part. The song finds him singing, “This has gotta stop/ Enough is enough/ I can’t take this BS any longer” during the song’s chorus, and if you find it odd that Clapton is angry enough to write a protest anthem but not angry enough to actually use profanity — well, it gets weirder from there.

The song’s lyrics posit Clapton as a lonely voice pushing back against a host of adversaries, from vaccines to climate change. “If you want to claim my soul/ You’ll have to come and break down this door,” Clapton sings over a jaunty soft-rock groove — another instance of the song’s strange gulf between nominally anthemic lyrics and all-too-mellow music.

The video features plenty of stock conspiracy-theory imagery, including sinister figures manipulating people like puppets and a man at a lectern speaking in such a way that it hypnotizes the people listening. As David Browne at Rolling Stone reports, some of the song’s lyrics seem to allude to Clapton’s reaction to the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. “I can’t move my hands, I break out in sweat/I wanna cry, I can’t take it anymore,” he sings at one point.

Just what this has to do with climate change is unclear. Perhaps Clapton is just lumping everything he hates into one song, like an anti-lockdown-themed version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Or maybe there isn’t much rhyme or reason to this, and we’re left with the familiar story of a once-respected artist shedding public goodwill faster than the eye can see.