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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Sarah McLachlan

 

MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

Sarah McLachlan-Fumbling Towards Ecstacy (Arista)

 

It is tough to describe exactly what it is that Sarah McLachlan does.  So many artists you can nail in two words (i.e. Metallica: speed metal, Garth Brooks: country pop, Michael Bolton: worthless crap). But Sarah McLachlan refuses to be labeled, thank goodness. 

 

Many times this schizophrenia shows up all in one tune.  The first single, "Possession," shows this range. Basically a ballad, there are also aspects of folk, but then there's a drum machine dance beat. It has an interesting lyrical thrust, the stort of a wannabe groupie making a fool of himself to the object of his desire. 

 

The mixture works much better than you have any right to believe. There are songs of devotion, like "Ice Cream," which sports the deceptively simple chorus: "Your love is better than ice cream." And what about the occasional rock and roll guitars on the album, on songs like the galloping modern rocker "Plenty?"  There is the stark realization of "Hold On," (also on the charity disc No Alternative), which captures the courage and complexity of being a woman. "This is going to hurt like hell," indeed.

 

Most importantly, there is McLachlan's stunning voice... solid and in charge one moment, heart-breakingly vulnerable the next.  With Fumbling Towards Ecstacy, the title belies the ease with which McLachlan lures you into her web. There is nothing clumsy about her artistry, she is in complete control of her destiny.  (2/94)

 

Jay S. Jacobs

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Sarah McLachlan-Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff (Nettwerk)

 

While McLachlan's fans await a followup to her 1993 breakthrough Fumbling Through Ecstacy, she releases a second stopgap to keep them happy. This limited edition disk mostly is in existence, I suppose, for "I Will Remember You," McLachlan's hit theme from The Brothers McMullen.

 

That beautiful ballad is on here as well as other rarities like tracks McLachlan recorded for tribute albums for X.T.C. ("Dear God") and Joni Mitchell ("Blue.") But the best moments on this odds & sods collection are a moving forgotten original "Full of Grace" and a terrific live version of the early single "Drawn To The Rhythm."

 

There are a few unnecessary dance remixes of old singles, but otherwise this is a real strong collection.  (1/97)

 

Jay S. Jacobs

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Sarah McLachlan-Surfacing (Arista)

 

With the popularity of this summer's Lilith Fair and the release of this album, Sarah McLachlan is finally being referred when people reference current superstars. Strangely enough, this album, which is already shaping up to be McLachlan's biggest hit, is one of her weaker records.

 

It may not be completely up to McLachlan's high standards, but, of course, it's a lot better than most other artists' work. McLachlan's vocals are as always top-notch, and the production by long-time collaborator Pierre Marchand is as lush as ever, but the songs could be a little stronger.

 

For example, the delicate ballad "I Love You," while beautiful, almost feels too fragile, like it may waft up into the air and dissipate. The mid-tempo dance track "Sweet Surrender" has the international feel of one of Kate Bush's collaborations with the Trio Bulgarka. The single, "Building A Mystery" captures a feeling of quiet anxiety.

 

Surfacing proves that even below average Sarah McLachlan is way ahead of the pack. (9/97)

 

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 1994-1997 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Revised: January 31, 2016.