Since 1988 and the release of her album Touched, Canadian singer-songwriterSarah McLachlan has produced 12 more albums – not counting eight separate Murmurs CDs that were only released to fan club members – with her fourteenth album set to release this October. She remained mostly under the public radar until the release of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy in 1993. Since then, she has reached international stardom and has gained many awards, including three Grammys, in the process.
I think her most memorable song is “I Will Remember You” featured in the Brothers McMullen soundtrack and her own CD Mirrorball. I’ve heard it at dances, graduations, and funerals. People who don’t listen to Sarah’s music have, at the very least, heard “I Will Remember You.” For that reason alone, it is number one on my top ten list.
My next four picks come from Surfacing – her best-selling album, for which she won two of her Grammy Awards and four Juno Awards. Number two on my list, is “Adia,” which shot to number three on The Billboard Hot 100 due to haunting lyrics sung so soulfully in Sarah’s honeyed voice.
Third on my list is “Building a Mystery,” another one of Sarah’s more popular songs. This is the first Sarah McLachlan song I ever remember hearing on the radio. My mom loves it, my friends love it, and even my brother at least knows the lyrics to it. This is just another one of her more commercially appealing songs. It will be played and recognized for years to come.
Fourth on my list is “I love you”. This much slower, more passionate song leaves tingles up and down my spine. She is able to put so much emotion into her voice that it amazes me every time I listen to it.
The fifth pick on my list, and the last song chosen from Surfacing, is “Angel”. Another slow song, the profound and deeply sad lyrics in “Angel” are easily a favorite among fans. Like “Building a Mystery,” “Angel” was made popular through constant play on the radio.
My sixth, seventh, and eighth picks are “Hold On,” “Good Enough,” and “Mary” from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. “Hold On” is an amazing song about losing someone you really love. The overall sensation of the song is that of such overwhelming powerlessness and loss. And really, even if I couldn’t understand the lyrics, it’s her voice that carries this song so well. The way she crones and growls some of her words can make my knees melt.
My favorite song on this album is “Good Enough.” I like to entertain thoughts that she’s a lesbian when listening to the part where she sings, “Don’t tell me why he’s never been there for you and I’ll tell you that “why” is simply not good enough. So just let me try and I will be good to you, just let me try and I will be there for you.” I know the lyrics can be taken in so many ways, but it makes me grin to think she’s convincing a woman to take her on and forget about the loser guys in her life. For my final pick from this album, I’ve chosen “Mary.” Out of all the songs, it is one that I enjoy more and more every time I hear it.
My last two picks are songs from Sarah’s 2003 album Afterglow. As a whole, this album was a little harder to get into than the others. An exception to that was the song “Fallen,” which drew my immediate appreciation the first time I played it. As for the song “Stupid,” I grew to really like this one after hearing it on the radio a few times. It was the song that pushed me into finally purchasing the Afterglow CD. Sadly, not many of the songs resonated with me as so many others on previous albums had.
Though some of Sarah McLachlan’s songs, like those in Afterglow, may take a diehard fan to love and appreciate them, many of her other songs display the kind of voice and lyrics that transcend music preferences and pushes everyone to want to sing along. If you would like a nice introduction to her music, I would highly recommend trying out the songs I have mentioned here.