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