It has been 25 years since Sarah McLachlan debuted with her first album, Touch. It wasn’t long before she became a stable artist in the 90s alternative rock scene with a haunting voice and piano melodies that won her many fans. As one of the few female rock musicians, she accidently became a symbol for women in music. She embraced it.
A five-year break leading into the 21st century allowed her to fade from the spotlight. With Afterglow, Laws of Illusion and now her seventh album, Shine On, she has continued to create unique melodies and use her extensive vocal range to tell emotional stories that connect to the everyday and the existential.
McLachlan has a gift for the illusory. The lyrics to “Broken Heart” could apply to romance or to making either simple or complicated decisions: “We trip and fall and stand again/And go on with our heads held high/We laugh and love as best we can/Trying to hold on to the wonder/How long? How long?/I should be thinking with my head/and not with my broken heart.”
On “Song for My Father,” she articulates the grief of losing her father: “How I wish that I could tell you/It’s to you that I would run/You were the place that I could always rest my head/When my world had come undone.”
These songs beg the listener to reflect on their own story, to feel the joy and sorrow that make up life in a fallen world. (Verve)