Surfacing (1997) by Sarah McLachlan

I know four of these songs way better than I ever would have thought because they were all over Canadian radio for well over a year. I can’t say I love any of the singles but I don’t hate them either. McLachlan has a strong sense of melody and her lyrics are fine (sometimes they are pretty good).

But the rest of the album is kind of forgettable for me; I am better at identifying the tracks by their ’90s production cliches than I am by the songs themselves. It’s not that they’re bad songs, it’s just that they don’t grab me the way some other writers’ songs do, and the late ’90s production haze does not make it any easier. (In fact, I’d say I’d like this more had it been stripped of a lot of its contemporary touches, like the vocal effect on “I Love You” – and that muted string section, which sounds distorted and mixed too low – or the “funky drummer” on “Black & White.”)



PS One of the non-singles isn’t forgettable even though I forgot about it: “Do What You Have to Do.” Not coincidentally, it is not heavily produced.

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