Eric Clapton - Pilgrim
I glanced at the back of this CD and was shocked to see that it was released in 1998. All this time I was sure that the only reason I ever bought it was because it was part of the confused "adult rock" phase I went through between 1993 and 1995 or so, where I listened to WXRT every day, got into artists like Lyle Lovett and Los Lobos, and grew to appreciate the more nuanced qualities of the Dave Matthews Band. By 1998 I was pretty much obsessed with Sonic Youth, Stereolab, My Bloody Valentine and The Orb. Why would I have purchased this album?
Eric Clapton's Unplugged was the first CD I ever bought with my own money. I have no idea why I did so or if I even knew who the fuck Eric Clapton was at that point. Maybe my friend Neal had some of his CDs, ones probably purloined from his stepbrother, the young man he clung to with abject devotion following the divorce of his parents and his bitter astrangement from his dad. Neal had chronic acne with festering pimples that constantly secreted bacteria-infested oil, violently took the Chevy side of the eternal "Chevy vs. Ford" war in regular unprovoked outbursts, and took out his anger on his younger brother on a daily basis in beatings which, in hindsight, bordered on sexual abuse. He also listened to country and whatever Christian rock our youth pastor had at the time, desperately seeking a new father figure and striving to impress and emulate potential candidates every chance he could get. He's now married and "works for the county" or something and tragically has spawned at least two children of his own.
Eventually I broke off my friendship with him and spent the rest of my adolescence as a close friend of his younger brother. We listened to The Cream of Clapton while playing pool in his unfinished basement. We rollerskated on the concrete floors to Siamese Dream and the first Weezer album and all was well. Absolutely none of this explains why I would have heard "My Father's Eyes" and thought to myself "Whoa, this is a good song! I gotta have this album."
I sold this CD long ago and picked it up again at the library yesterday. I listened to about half of it before returning it a few hours ago. The last song has a late-90s trip-hop intro but veers into smooth jazz. Is this really the same hungry young man that brought us "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Change the World"?
Notably, the album cover was designed by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, character designer for Evangelion, FLCL, and many more animated series and films. I just picked up the new Eva movie last week and it's pretty great, but I would think so wouldn't I?