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Pilgrim ()

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Eric Clapton reached the peak of his popularity in the '90s, as the back-to-back number one albums Unplugged and From the Cradle combined for a total of over 13 million sales in the U.S. alone. One strange thing about Clapton's '90s success is that it relied almost entirely on covers and new versions of classic hits; he released no albums of new material between 1989's Journeyman and 1998's Pilgrim. In the decade between the two albums, he had two new hits -- his moving elegy to his deceased son, "Tears in Heaven," and the slick contemporary soul of the Babyface-written "Change the World" -- and Pilgrim tries to reach a middle ground between these two extremes, balancing tortured lyrics with smooth sonic surfaces. Working with producer Simon Climie, his collaborator on the TDF side project, Clapton has created a calm record. His singing is mannered, even on emotionally turbulent numbers like "My Father's Eyes" or "Circus," and he's content to take a back seat instrumentally, playing slight solos and fills. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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