After six years, Sarah McLachlan's new studio album, Afterglow, is finally here. Her singular style, haunting, yet comforting voice, and her intelligent lyrics remain the same. But like all quality albums, Afterglow takes a few listens to be fully appreciated. After all, McLachlan's true talent lies in her thoughtful lyrics, her piano playing, and her otherworldly voice, not in cheap catchy tunes. And her fans are very thankful for that.
Since her debut in the late 80s, Sarah McLachlan has had a devoted following, not only in her native Canada, but in the US and the UK too, and with each album she continues to demonstrate her talent as a musician and a songwriter.
With Afterglow, McLachlan touches on various topics from the timeless theme of relationships to the delicate state of our world; from more orchestrated tunes such as Time to the simple but touching Answer, which is a bit reminiscent of her previous gems, Angel and I Will Remember You.
Several of the songs on Afterglow stand out and will certainly make those new to Sarah McLachlan turn into fans. The opening track, Fallen is about a failed relationship, and although this is a universal theme, she makes it very personal. She knows she's lost everything and urges you "not to come around here and tell me I told you so."
The second track - the most memorable for me - World On Fire, expresses the frailty of the world in which we live, and undoubtedly is a heartfelt response to September 11th: "Stay close to me while the sky is falling . . . visions clash, planes crash and still there's talk of saving souls."
The angelic voice that has made McLachlan's music so wonderful is at its highest point in Answer: "In the burning of uncertainty I will be your solid ground . . . if it takes my whole life I won't break, I won't bend. It'll all be worth it, worth it in the end."
For new Sarah McLachlan fans, Afterglow will hopefully make them interested in discovering her previous albums, especially 1993's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. For her faithful followers, it'll serve as yet another reminder of a talented artist who continues to grow as time goes by.
:: Adela Brito