Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review: Sarah McLachlan's Laws of Illusion

I've been a Sarah McLachlan fan since forever. Her Grammy award-winning songs are so hauntingly beautiful that they linger on and still resonate decades later. And I've always admired that Sarah has stood up for causes she believes, whether it be feminism, animal welfare or poverty. She is a role model, which is hard to find in the entertainment industry these days.

It's no surprise that her album sales have topped 20 million and to date, every single one of her studio and live albums has been certified, gold, platinum or multi-platinum by the RIAA. It's been a long seven years since Sarah McLachlan's last studio album, Afterglow, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review her newest album, Laws of Illusion.

True to her Canadian roots, Laws of Illusion was recorded in Montreal and Vancouver with Sarah's longtime collaborator/producer Pierre Marchand. It is released on the heels of Lilith Tour 2010, the triumphant return of the historic festival featuring all female headliners, which was founded by Sarah herself. The first single from the album, "Loving You is Easy" is already a top ten hit on adult alternative radio.

Track Listing:

1. Awakenings
2. Illusions Of Bliss
3. Loving You Is Easy
4. Changes
5. Forgiveness
6. Rivers Of Love
7. Love Come
8. Out Of Tune
9. Heartbreak
10. Don't Give Up On Us
11. U Want Me 2
12. Bring On The Wonder
Bonus Track: Love Come (Piano Version)

The Sarah we all know and love is back - with a vengeance. She demonstrates growth and maturity with this album, which chronicles her marriage and ultimately, separation. It is a bit more edgy than her past work but every bit as brilliant. The opening track, "Awakenings" pulls you in unexpectedly with deep, electro-pop/rock. And yet Sarah never loses sight of her signature sound. Her profound, passionate lyrics made me realize just how much she had been missed.
I'm not the girl I was but what have I become?
I'm not so willing anymore to bend
Still pleasing and conceding
but I'm not gonna lose myself again
Sarah's voice sails spectacularly on tracks like the nostalgic love-lost waltz "Changes", the dark, moody ballad "Rivers of Love" and "Bring on the Wonder", the latter of which has a beautiful acapella intro reminiscent of indie artist Imogen Heap. My personal favorites were the bittersweet "Forgiveness", whose slow-moving melody brought to mind Bonnie Raitt's classic "I Can't Make You Love Me", and the seductive "Love Come", which made me feel her hope and yearning down to my fingertips. The piano and cello version, included as a bonus track, is even more incredible. I look forward to "mommy time" every night, when I can pop in this album and fully indulge in the rhythm and words.

Bottom line: If you are a Sarah McLachlan fan, you will not be disappointed with this album. Its beauty is no illusion.

BUY IT: Laws of Illusion was released today, June 15, to all major music retailers including iTunes and Amazon.com (ARV $9.99).

To learn more about her new album, be sure to "like" Sarah's Facebook page and follow Sarah on Twitter!

As I mentioned, this summer marks the return of Lilith Fair! From 1997 through 1999, Lilith Fair was one of the highest grossing touring festivals in the world, drawing over 2 million fans and raising over $10 million for national and local women's charities. There are some amazing A-list artists already confirmed, so you won't want to miss this. To get more details on dates and locations or to purchase tickets, head on over to the Lilith Fair website.

Disclaimer: Thank you to One2One Network for this review opportunity. I was given a free copy of this album to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way. The thoughts and opinions expressed are solely mine. Your experience may differ.


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