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15. Fumbling towards conventionality
on 7 May 2014
Upon reading the announcement for "Shine on"'s release, I wished this record to be a lot more adventurous and promising than its saccharine cover and bland title. Following the moderate success of 2003's rather overlooked "Afterglow" and, even more so, the mediocre sales of 2010's "Laws of illusion", as a long-time fan, I longed for an album that would put things in the right place. I am quite regretful for saying this, but "Shine on" is an album of a talented artist taking no risk, simply re-affirming her ability to write beautiful songs. That is no bad thing, but for those who have witnessed the outstanding quality of Sarah McLachlan's past records, good is simply not "Good enough". "Flesh and blood", "Monsters", "Song for my father", and "Love beside me" are bright reminders of her great talent, the artistic and commercial peak of which is the sublime 1994 "Fumbling towards ecstasy" album. It is records with such gut-wrenching songs that defined an era, propelled her into international success, and established her status as one of the greatest singers-songwriters of her generation. That, of course, remains undisputed, just like her voice that sounds as captivating as ever. However, 25 years into her career, Sarah McLachlan should be willing to make substantive changes to her sound, evolve as an artist, rather than embracing once again over-familiar material with no punch or edge. I love her dearly, so I am waiting for the sunshine, to me this is just some rays of light.