21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2004
This album is quite simply fantastic.. It takes a couple of listens as its definitely mellowed from previous work.. I think Sarah's become yet more introspective since a few more major life changes came along in the birth of her daughter and death of her mother... That said its a GREAT album. Fallen is superb, and if you havent seen it yet the video for world on fire is superb (just like the song). Stupid is the only real rock song on the album and is fantastic, and the album continues in a folksy, jazzy, light rocky sorta way through other standout tracks such as the haunting "Answer" and lovely ballads drifitng, and train wreck... All in all a great if as always too short album from the Divine Mrs M....
Oh on another note I just read a review (the only one of it's kind) that claimed not to like FTE, and if they happen to read back please please please get mirrorball.. I agree FTE was overproduced and sounds a little bit dated now even possibly due to the very gothic orchestration... However if you listen to the greatest hits tour "Mirrorball" or indeed the soon to be released (and i can't wait) Afterglow Live, then I guarantee you will love the up to date versions of tracks such as fear, ice cream, the awesome hold on and possibly my favourite elsewhere (which is on the fantastic dvd version).. The live versions are really completely different from the album and show what a difference there is when she performs live..
I saw the afterglow tour a couple of weeks ago and I have to admit was absolutely blown away. I knew she was fantastic as I had the dvd's, but had no idea how good she really would sound. Her voice was amazing, note perfect, and one particular note she held for topping 30 seconds on a song called witness, was truly one of those moments that make you glad to be alive.. Her band were spectacular, but naturally she stole a remarkable show, I can't wait till she returns...
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2005
I first came across Sarah McLachlan's vocal prowess on the haunting track 'Silence' by Delerium - if you're unfamiliar with that then it is well worth tracking down and listening to. I then saw he live on Jonathan Ross last year and decided that she was an artiste worth investigating.
This is the first CD of hers that I have bought - and I have found it an enchanting, haunting and extremely well crafted album. McLachlan quite simply has a beautiful voice and writes intelligent and poignant lyrics - and this album displays her vocals at their best. It demands to be listened to, and is definitely not background music for dinner parties as many might describe Nora Jones and Dido. The opening track 'Fallen' sets the standard for the album, and other high spots include 'Train Wreck' and 'Answer' - but the other 7 tracks paint a vivid picture and use the full pallet of McLachlan's rich voice. Buy it - you won't be diappointed!
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2004
After a five-year absence since her last live album "Mirrorball", during which time Sarah McLachlan became a mum, it's great to see her back again. It's even more pleasing to hear some of the over-heavy synthesisers stripped away in favour of piano and guitars, the perfect accompaniment to McLachlan's folky and note-perfect vocals. A little rawer in sound than previous albums - I loved 'Fumbling Towards Ecstasy' but found it over-produced in places - this has some powerful songs that hit harder for the lack of artifice around the edges.
Standout tracks 'Fallen' - how wonderful to hear that voice again after such a long absence - 'Stupid' and 'Train Wreck' carry all the power and directness of vintage McLachlan. 'Push' is beautiful, soulful and touching without being either sickly or over-sentimental, and 'Answer' is heartbreaking, just piano, brush drums and a faint cello, and carries that ghostly feel that conjures up comparisons with, strangely, acts such as Clannad.
It would be easy to believe that McLachlan has spent the seven years since her last studio album sharpening and perfecting these ten songs; there's little here that could have been improved on. Expect to see this cluttering up many end-of-year 'Best Of' lists. In a world where Dido can sell fifteen billion albums, Sarah McLachlan is long due recognition and success. Hopefully, this one will see her achieve both in the UK.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2004
I have been a huge fan of Sarah McLachlan for years, and I was thrilled when I got this album. Suuccessful fmsic is all about connecting with the listener, and this is one of the best albums for doing this.
Unfortunately the CD is only 10 tracks, upon listening to every one I can guarantee that you will crave more - lucky you if you can get a bonus copy with an additional 4 live tracks.
Every song is classic, and could be released. I have given this album 5 stars without hesitation. For me the album begins in a wonderful manner with the awesome and haunting Fallen - if it weren't for Evanescence I think this would have been the title of the album - it sums up McLachlans writing style, vocals and charisma perfectly, and could replace the awesome song Angel from the Surfacing album as her signature tune.
The weakest song on the album is still wonderful, the song Perfect Girl was difficult for me to relate to, but the style of writing and the melody can only be described as beautiful. The album is very strong and the time spent perfecting the arrangements and writing is clear to see and the album oozes class.
Dirty Little Secret and Train Wreck are just two of the superb songs on here and I would suggest this album is a must for music lovers, and the joy that I have gained from listening to this album means it is in my list of favourite albums ever - coming close to the top.
Absolutely superb, and trust me, I do not give 5 stars lightly.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2007
Like Tori Amos,Kate Bush,Bjork,PJ Harvey and Joni Mitchell; Sarah McLachlan is one of those fantastic singer songwriters who speaks to your heart and draws you in with an honesty that only comes from experiencing real heartbreak."Afterglow" McLachlan's fifth album, and really her last true album of all new material (Wintersong doesn't count as its a christmas album).I have had this CD for a couple of years now and i have to say out of my entire collection i still listen to this as much as i did when i first purchased it.
1.Fallen - One of my favourite McLachlan songs, such a beautifully sad song to me the song talks about regretting your part actions and them finally coming back to haunt you and now you've hurt so many people they don't want to know anymore and "there doesnt seem a way to be redeemed"
I think anyone can relate to this song if you've ever been let down and betrayed this is definately one for you beautiful vocals and very thought provoking lyrics.The album version is somewhat different from the single version a bit more mellow as opposed to the slightly rock-ish video version. 10/10
2.World On Fire - This is an incredible song about feeling overwhelmed by all the suffering in the world and being unable to help as much as you'd like which, i think anyone with a sense of social awareness feels (i know i do).I love this song it's much more subtle than other political songs it gives your more to think about rather than preaching as alot of artists do these days (U2,Coldplay..etc).The video for this song only cost $15 and with the $150,000 budget she had for it donated the money which i thought was a generous thing to do. 10/10
3.Stupid - The song speaks on falling back into old familiar,comfortable habits, especially in love and realising the person your with is so wrong for you but you keep going back over and over again, making you 'Stupid' 'coz you never learn.Also this song can me seen as a song where your too good for the person and its one of them situations where people are stupid enough to settle with second best and stay with someone like that. You are better off on your own great song song the video was fantastic. 10/10
4.Drifting - A beautiful understated song,To me this song is about running from your past, running so hard and so fast that your universe can't include anyone else. The people left behind are desperate for you to come home, but you can't cause if you stop now then life itself will fall apart, very powerful lyrics i suggest anyone who feels the need to run away from you problems, LISTEN to this song maybe it'll change your mind 9/10
5.Trainwreck - This song reminded me alot of her older stuff,I think it's all about how wonderful someone is to her that he has the power to heal all past wounds simply by touching her. It's about being so truly happy and deeply in love with someone that the whole world is made better because of them.Not as tragic as the title suggest it's a pretty sweet song 10/10
6.Push - Probably one of the only songs on the album i'm not too keen on. She wrote this song about her husband after going through post-natal depression after giving birth to her daughter.I'm sure her husband appreciated this song as a sort of thank-you-for-putting-up-with-me kinda song 7/10
7.Answer - This song to me definitely is about being there for someone you love and care about through even the toughest of times. Being their strength when they are weak and giving them hope That even when times are tough between the two of you, that you won't 'break or bend' and give up, because once you get through it, you know you will be stronger than ever before.A very beautiful song,I dedicated this song to my bestfriend we been through some tough times..Thanks 10/10
8.Time - I thought this song was quite a different approach for Sarah,Perhaps it's not a complex song like many of her others, but it doesn't need to be... it's basically a cry for solitude and the peace of it, when someone's been hounding you and forcing you to fight with them over nothing, seemingly for the sake of conflict alone. Very beautiful one of my favourites 10/10
9.Perfect Girl - this song, everytime i listen to it, seems to tell of someone who is taking a step back from the relationship with someone who has a lot of issues to deal with, and it is with this distance the partner should work himself/herself out (a task that the girl feels should be done alone). Perfect girl hopes that in time, her partner would fix him/herself up (realize that Perfect girl should be loved as who she is-- free from all his expectations. I love how in the chorus, she tells her partner just how to do that-- to let go (of the expectations), to let yourself falter, and that to know that whoever you are whatever you do... you are loved.Another of my favourites very beautiful 10/10
10.Dirty Little Secret - To me, this song seems to be about regret and unfulfilled love. This song reflects a lot of gossip and social acceptance on someone else's business.
but in the end she's willing to "give up the fight" if only she could have another chance to say what she couldn't say before..Sarah sings this song beautifully a truly introspective wonder i love the line "'cause I've relied on my illusion/to keep me warm at night" I think alot of people can feel like this, great way to end the album 10/10
2.Dirty Little Secret
4.World On Fire
We see Sarah at her most introspective on this one let's hope the next installment of her wonderful catalogue lives up to this one.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2004
Funnily enough, 'Afterglow's release seems to have finally been recognised in the UK. The Observer Music magazine, I was horrified to discover, have labelled Sarah as 'an American-Dido-rip-off. Those who know Sarah's previous music too, will know the pain when some random reviewer leafs through her album and declares it 'been-done'. I myself has to retrain from throttleing the reporter who wrote such a review. I absoulutely love Sarah McLachlan's music. It is like a good friend. Its warm, comforting, its helps you find things in yourself that you had no idea were there, but mostly, it buries intop your music taste and has a knack of staying there. To describe Sarah's music as 'Chillout' would be quite close, but the word itself seems too cheapen her music, pulling veil over it before people can really listen to it without prejudice for Dido. Hear this now - Sarah has been around a hell of a lot longer than Miss Armstrong. Don't get me wrong, Didos great, but thinking about it, Sarah's last materpiece of an album, 'Surfacing' was out at least two years before Dido made her debut.
Right, first things first - no one truthfully expecting 'Afterglow' to triumph over 'Surfacing' (did they? truthfully?) And although 'Afterglow' does not quite reach Surfacing's abominable heights, it is certainly worth having a listen to.
The album opens with the amzing 'Fallen' a great, hearty song which emphasizes Sarah's voice, to show off its beautiful harmonies, and I believe the track to be built on this one's strength. It possesses all the wistfulness of 'Building a Mystery' while holding its own. The next track 'World On Fire' was written by Sarah and manager Pierre Marchand more recently than others, and though the lyrics are awesome, I was somewhat thrown by the airy-fairy tune. It nice, but a bit whispery. Thirdly comes a sort of rocky, orchestral tune - Stupid. Its another highlight on the album. Following this is a stringy, enjoyable, slightly jazzy track called 'Drifting'. Its a great Chillout one. Another strength on the album. After Drifting comes the nice-but-a-bit-boring 'Train Wreck' which is probably the weakest track. Its just my opinion, but I think its not good enough for Sarah really.
The second half of the album, I feel, is really the best. 'Push' just rocks. Strong lyric writing needs no justification. 'Answer' is my absoulute favourite. I love it. Its so atmospheric, so pure, its quite beutiful. 'Time' is a classic. Its classy, and again, the lyrical talent really shows here. 'Perfect Girl' is another of the album highlights. It opens with a sort of exotic choir, and follows the piano based beat of an amzing song. -Dirty Little Secret closes the album, and leaves you gagging for more. Thats when you press play and play it all over again. Im only going to say this once: 'Buy It.'
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2004
I bought this album some months ago and was not immediately impressed. It seemed too quiet and lacking in passion. It didn't have the impact of Surfacing or Fumbling. Then I saw Sarah at RAH in London and went home to play it again and have been unable to take it off my CD player. It even plays in my car! There's only one track that hasn't stuck in my mind -Dirty Little Secret, but maybe in time. The album is haunting, melodic, emotionally provacative, and maybe just a reflection of Sarah's growing maturity - and becoming a mum!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2004
Every one of Sarah's previous 4 studio albums has offered something different and new. Indeed, 1993's 'Fumbling Towards Ecstasy' and 1997's 'Surfacing' are nothing short of masterpieces.
BUT 'Afterglow' just doesn't grab me by the 'nads' in the same way that all her other albums did.
Nonetheless, it's a good album by anyone else's standards - and the rousing opening track 'Fallen' is great.
Nor did this album deserve some of the sarcastic reviews that it received on release here - especially those making unfair comparisons with other contemporary female artists (many of whom owe their careers in part to Sarah and/or Lilith Fair). The review in the Observer was particulary nasty and ill-informed.
Don't take my word for it, listen for yourself.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The first time I listened to Afterglow I thought "pretty, but not quite the creme de la creme". Next time round suddenly I really liked it, and third time over I fell in love with it.
This album is much like an old friend, familiar but not with its charm and smiles that go with it.
A cross over between Surfacing and Solace, Afterglow is a very intricate album with many, many layers of different little guitar, piano and voices all rolled into one stream of thought and its very radio and easy on the ears.
"Answer" deserves a special mention as its possibly one of the most sweetest songs I have ever heard.
Sweet, Whimiscal and gooey - Sarah's long awaited album was worth the wait in gold!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 February 2004
I have never heard Sarah McLachlan before and only bought the album as I heard Fallen on the Steve Wright show and thought it was a nice track, but I am absolutely blown away by this album. I cannot stop listening to it. The tracks are mellow with beautiful vocals and lyrics. Definately a feel good album