#167 Sarah McLachlan – Surfacing (1997)


You won’t find alot of female artists on this list of mine..quite frankly it’s just not my cup of tea. But if you have noticed anything while perusing this blog it should be that my musical tastes are varied and wide ranging. If it’s good, it’s good. And McLachlan’s “Surfacing” is good. Her first 2 studio efforts had established her in her native Canada & her previous album,  1994’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, , had established her in the United States. But it would be “Surfacing” and it’s related tour that would establish her as a major artist. Surfacing was released in July 1997, coinciding with the start of McLachlan’s Lilith Fair tour, a tour that was festival style and featured only female artists. The first single released was “Building A Mystery”, which is my 2nd favorite song about vampires. When you listen to Sarah’s silky toned voice and laid back musical style on this song it makes the subject matter that much stranger. It would be a big hit and a jumpstart for this album. The 2nd single released was “Sweet Surrender”, which quite honestly is a generic female singer/songwriter song and probobsaly a poor choice to be released as a single. But “Building A Mystery” was still strong enough to keep carrying this disc. The third single “Adia” was released in May of ’98 almost a year after the album had hit the streets & was a smash reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and featured McLachlan’s beatiful voice. The success of “Adia” gave the disc new legs. But it was the album’s 4th single that is far and away the best offering on this package. The real mystery is why “Angel” (which was the first song written for the album) was not the first single released. With it’s slow piano and haunting voice and near perfect lyrics dealing with the heaviest of subject matters herion & death. When I had to put my last dog down this song came on the radio and finished when I pulled in the garage…and I cried like a baby. I mean really what are the odds that this song would play at that time? McLachlan said that writing the song was easy, “a real joyous occasion.”[1] It was inspired by articles that she read in Rolling Stone about musicians who turned to heroin to cope with the pressures of the music industry and subsequently overdosed.[1][2] She said that she identified with the feelings that might lead someone to use heroin: “I’ve been in that place where you’re so fucked up and you’re so lost that you don’t know who you are anymore, and you’re miserable—and here’s this escape route. I’ve never done heroin, but I’ve done plenty of other things to escape.”[1] She said that the song is about “trying not to take responsibility for other people’s shit and trying to love yourself at the same time.” I also have a version of this song on a Cities Sampler that seems funny because it was basically an acoustic song to begin with.

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