14 Songs, 1 Hour 15 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Eric Clapton later revealed that his intention for 1998’s Pilgrim was “to make the saddest record of all time.” The album addresses the two losses that cast a shadow on all of Clapton's post-'80s music: the 1985 death of the father he'd never met and the accidental 1991 death of his four-year-old son. These two tragedies are connected in “My Father’s Eyes,” a confession and elegy disguised in a midtempo gospel pop structure. In “Circus,” the other keystone song here, Clapton recalls the last day he spent with his son and then turns the image of the circus into a metaphor for devastation: “And it's sad, so sad, there ain't no easy way 'round/And it's sad, so sad, all you friends gather 'round/'Cause the circus left town.” Musically, the album leans heavily on the contemporary R&B that Clapton honed after his collaboration with Babyface; it also contains traces of his burgeoning interest in dance music. The modernized programming was a turnoff for some of Clapton’s fans, but even when it’s built on mechanized beats, Pilgrim stands among the most delicate and vulnerable works of his career.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Eric Clapton later revealed that his intention for 1998’s Pilgrim was “to make the saddest record of all time.” The album addresses the two losses that cast a shadow on all of Clapton's post-'80s music: the 1985 death of the father he'd never met and the accidental 1991 death of his four-year-old son. These two tragedies are connected in “My Father’s Eyes,” a confession and elegy disguised in a midtempo gospel pop structure. In “Circus,” the other keystone song here, Clapton recalls the last day he spent with his son and then turns the image of the circus into a metaphor for devastation: “And it's sad, so sad, there ain't no easy way 'round/And it's sad, so sad, all you friends gather 'round/'Cause the circus left town.” Musically, the album leans heavily on the contemporary R&B that Clapton honed after his collaboration with Babyface; it also contains traces of his burgeoning interest in dance music. The modernized programming was a turnoff for some of Clapton’s fans, but even when it’s built on mechanized beats, Pilgrim stands among the most delicate and vulnerable works of his career.

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