Closer – The Best Of Sarah McLachlan (Compilation Album)

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on December 25, 2009

"Closer" Compiles Together Sarah Mc Lachlan's Greatest Hits Up To The Year 2008

"Closer" Compiles Together Sarah Mc Lachlan's Greatest Hits Up To The Year 2008

This one took a little to sink in, and it didn’t sink in completely. But the bits that managed to do it are ones I now treasure indeed. Sarah Mclachlan is a Canadian artist that began her career in 1988 with the album “Touch”, in which her trademark mixture of folk and pop was already fully manifested. That record included the hit single “Vox”, and that is the one song which starts this 16-track compilation which was first issued in 2008.

I think I don’t have to tell you it is one of the tracks that I truly treasure from it. The other two that I deem as exemplary songs are “Possession” and “Building A Mystery”. Both were quite successful in terms of chart performance – “Building A Mystery” topped the Canadian charts and almost hit the top 10 in the US. For its part, “Possession” garnered a lot of publicity since it dealt with a famous stalker that even filed a lawsuit against McLachlan – he was to eventually commit suicide before the trial started.

Some might find it startling that songs dealing with such negative realities turn out to be such compelling listens – just look at Elvis Costello’s “High Fidelity” or The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”. But when songs like that are successful, I don’t think that means people are “evil”– quite the opposite. It just showcases that “normal” people are naturally attracted to what happens on the other side. The more people who are keen on songs like these, then, the more representative sample we have of people’s saneness.

The most successful song of the compilation was “Angel”, a song that dealt with the overdose of Jonathan Melvoin (keyboard player for The Smashing Pumpkins) and which was featured on the soundtrack to “City Of Angels”. That soundtrack also had the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris”, as I am sure you know. It did also receive considerable airplay afterwards, as it was used to pay homage to the lives lost in the September 11 attacks.

On the other hand, “I Will Remember You” was the first song of hers that I ever listened to. It was used during the last episode of “Felicity”, a TV show I really enjoyed back then. Well, I really enjoyed the first season – it was fresh like little else I had seen to that point in my life. The following three seasons went downhill pretty quickly. Still, the final one was intermittently enjoyable and I always liked McLachlan’s song during the finale. I must admit, though, that I would have liked having the studio one best. I know the live one that is featured on this compilation was a quasi-hit, but it is abridged and I don’t like that.

The only other song on the album that I anticipate eagerly when I listen to it is “Stupid”. It stands out for being just a little more vigorous than the other cuts that are featured. “Into The Fire” is also quite dynamic.

The rest of the album… is a little monotonous in places. Before I get flamed, yes, I know that compilations can sometimes showcase the reliance that an artist has on a certain sound or approach. Sometimes, that reliance becomes far too evident when you place tracks side by side. That is the case here. And it might as well be that the two new tracks (located at the end of the disc) do nothing but emphasize McLachlan’s sonic predilections. They bring nothing new to the table. And if the table is already saturated with the most delicious food ever, two pieces of the same food will not make you hurry and grab a bite.

Still, the more I listen to it the more enjoyable it gets. And you can’t really fault the disc in terms of what is included and what is left off (besides the studio “I Will Remember You”, that’s it). Every single hit is here. Those who are new to her music will get to know her in a good light – the disc showcases her virtues for sure. And I won’t say that it showcases her defects too – it simply spotlights how artists can sometimes stick too closely to the sound that works for them. If that happens, it is not necessarily because that sound “sells” copies. It might simply be that sound is the one they feel transmits their emotions best. And I am sure that is the case with Sarah McLachlan.

Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes
Do I feel like digging deeper into her catalog after listening to it: Yes

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