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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Afterglow CD Cover
Image © Nettwerk Productions 2003  

(18 January 2004) It has been six years since Sarah McLachlan's last album, and Afterglow (Nettwerk (Canada) 0 6700 30332 2 0, 2003) has been worth waiting for from this very talented songstress. The album is filled with lush tones and soothing melodies. While this CD differs from her previous album, Surfacing, its songs elicit the sensitive transitions that Sarah has made in her life due to the tragic loss of her mother from cancer and the joyful birth of her daughter.

Although the album contains only ten short tracks, Sarah's beautiful, soaring vocals stand out amidst the mellow tunes she's created. According to the singer, "A lot of these songs are about transition ... the turning over of the rock, what's underneath, the murky, shadowy uncertainty where everything looks very different."

The first track is "Fallen," a philosophical, insightful look within the artist's thoughts. There is a warmth and purity throughout, showcasing the beautiful harmonies. Her next song, "World on Fire" is the only writing collaboration on this album with Pierre Marchand, although he plays an integral part as producer, engineer and mixer on the entire album. All the songs were recorded at Marchand’s home studio in Montreal or at McLachlan's home studio in Vancouver.

"Drifting" changes the tone of the previous tracks with a more carefree melody reflecting the mood of the song. This buoyancy continues into "Train Wreck" with Sarah's melodious tones creating the laid-back but rich aura of her music. Her state of mind while writing this album continues throughout, reflecting in her tranquil melodies and reflective lyrics. "Push" creates a seductive mood with the love-inspired lyrics, accompanied by Bill Dillon playing the church organ, Tony Levin on bass, Jorane on cello, and Ashwin Sood on percussion.

"Answer" comes along with a delicate whispering tone that sets the atmosphere of introspection and determination in her acoustic music aided by Jimmy Creegan on acoustic bass and Sarah's sensitive lyrics. This song is one of Sarah’s favorites, "It's a total 'two o'clock in the morning, whispered in your ears' headphone track. That's always been my thing, feeling the very essence of a song. I have to be able to break it down and still feel its strength acoustically on piano or guitar. If the essence is strong, you can do whatever you want with it, it'll still be good. "

Read further reviews, listen to soundbitesand order the album from amazon.comhere.Afterglow presents a rich tapestry of musical feelings drawn from this artist's life experiences. The poignant lyrics and the wonderful melodic harmonizations bring this series of songs to life. The emotions brought to the surface through Sarah's lush vocals will gratify and comfort her fans.--Audrey Elliot

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