Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Sarah McLachlan 

Afterglow (Arista)

The saddest thing about Afterglow is that it completes Sarah McLachlan's metamorphosis into exactly the type of bland female artist she once railed against. In her earliest days, the Canadian was a Kate Bush-modeled firebrand, who helped folk-pop shed its snooze-fest image with ornate, haunting songs such as "Into the Fire" and "Possession." She then used her influence to gather a cavalcade of like-minded souls for Lilith Fair, a traveling estrogen fest that celebrated the strength and originality of powerful female voices.

Yet, as with much of Surfacing, her gauzy 1997 creation that often melted into ethereal slush, the firmly midtempo Afterglow sounds like McLachlan could barely spearhead a PTA bake sale, much less organize an entire tour. Her icy croon cracks with pretty but ultimately disconnected emotion on the piano-driven "Drifting," the smooth jazz abomination "Trainwreck," and the interminable "World On Fire." Memorable hooks and interesting ideas are MIA amid the disc's monotonous combinations of strings, synths, and soccer-mom-palatable guitars. Only the lilting, delicate single "Fallen" and the surprisingly rip-roaring riffs on the chorus of "Stupid" possess any staying power -- something McLachlan herself is in danger of losing, if she can't rediscover her feisty voice.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Annie Zaleski

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Andrea Bocelli @ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

    • Thu., Dec. 2
  • Kellen Erskine @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Dec. 2
  • Louis C.K. @ Agora Theatre

    • Thu., Dec. 2

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation