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Out of the Shadows 10/10
Here is a sweeping and gorgeous ballad, and it shows Sarah McLachlan off to an extremely appropriate start. The melody is strikingly organic … it doesn’t have many pop-hooks and it is therefore not catchy. But the melody still manages to entice. This song is almost like looking at mountains. The instrumentation is neither too lush nor sparse. The light pattering of the drums gives the song appropriate texture as sweeping, light synthesizers give the song a grand feel. But the best part of the instrumentation is McLachlan’s haunting vocals. This song is a good one to soak up.
This is is McLachlan’s pop tune, and it’s the one song you’re most likely to remember. The melody is much bolder and hookier than the previous piece. The instrumentation is more show-offey, featuring a heavy pop-rock rhythm and an occasional but memorable rhythmic string section. McLachlan’s melody coupled with her voice makes this sound like it’s from the angels.
Strange World 8/10
Falling a bit off the mark now, “Strange World” is still an enticing though somewhat misfired, it seems. The drums don’t seem quite right for some reason. They’re much busier than they needed to be. Otherwise the song is pretty good. The melody is light and earthly like “Out of the Shadows.” … It’s very nearly another classic, but something else should have been done with the arrangements.
“Trust” has an excellent chorus, which is surprising because the rest of the song isn’t nearly as memorable. So, the result is a kind of uneven on-again/off-again play with my attention span. Nonetheless, this is a nice song. The drums, again, are a little too distracting but not as much.
McLachlan tries Enya’s New Age music on for size with “Touch,” and it’s not bad. She uses her voice to sing wordless noises, and it’s extraordinarily beautiful. The nice instrumentation features an appropriate though unadventurous piano, a synth-strings background for body, and the occasional pizzicato string. It’s very nice, but I’m glad McLachlan stuck with folk-pop by the end.
She’s back to form with “Steaming,” which strikes me as being very close to her “usual” style. The melody is perfectly good for-the-moment, but I’ve been listening to this album for some time now (three years?), and I can’t say the melody remains with me. It might not stick with you, but it’s a marvelously entertaining song as I sit here and listen to it.
Sad Clown 8.5/10
It takes awhile to get started, but that’s not a bad thing. The introduction isn’t so much elaborate, but subtle as the song slowly springs to life. The instrumentation here is particularly excellent and subtle as busy though constructive drums provide the song’s backing. In many ways, this song is like “Out of the Shadows,” but it doesn’t possess that priceless ability of transporting me to other worlds. In the end, it’s almost boring. … But appreciated.
Uphill Battle 7.5/10
This is an instrumental, which immediately puts it to a disadvantage, because we don’t get to hear McLachlan’s voice! You’d almost wonder why she wanted to do this, because her session musicians aren’t so special. This song comes off as a bit choppy and forced to me. It doesn’t have an otherworldly quality to it, either, so it’s not a good song to space out to. The thematic idea behind the song was good, and it has an excellent central hook, but ………. Come on!!!!
Ben's Song 9/10
We get to hear McLachlan’s pretty voice again in “Ben’s Song,” which is frankly somewhat boring. But this is the type of song you can sit back to and soak up. There aren’t any instruments to distract you; it’s just McLachlan’s angelic vocals and a piano. This song is an experience that should put you to peace.
It was better left alone!!!!! It's not worthless, but ... you shouldn't mess with my "Vox."
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