Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sarah McLachlan (Musical Memories)

While music isn't absolutely central to my life, I do enjoy it. Thinking back on the way in which music has shaped my life, I've noticed some things about the way I listen to music. I generally hear a song or an artist and listen to their music over and over again. Solid repeats on a single song or album until that emotional phase has passed.

I can pinpoint several blocks on my life where in order to get past it or through it, there have been distinct phases. I'm sure I'll come back to this subject (as I've already explored it in the past, though not for awhile) and let you know about other important life phases, but today I'd like to talk about Sarah McLachlan. Sarah McLachlan came into my life when I was a late teenager. I think perhaps her track Angel on the City of Angels soundtrack brought her to my attention. I remember buying Mirrorball, which has a collection of live versions of songs on her previous albums, and listening to it on repeat. Just something about her soothing voice and the melodies spoke to me in a way that no other music had before it. It just felt so emotional.

I can still listen to Mirrorball and get wrapped up in the music all over again. Listening to Building a Mystery the other I felt all emotional and just happy inside. But what I really think about when I listen to Mirrorball, or just Sarah McLachlan in general, is that N and I listened to this when he visited for the first time. We'd by lying on the bed, listening to music and talking. And it's one of my strongest memories of my early relationship with N, this getting to know each other whilst listening to music.

It isn't even as if we only ever listened to Sarah McLachlan during that time, I think we listened to several different albums and artists, but when he left that first time, I listened to Mirrorball nonstop. In my mind it became one of the first soundtracks of our relationship. One of the first of many.

Fast forward several years, after we'd been married for just over years. I was working in a bookstore at the time and Afterglow had been released after so many years without a new Sarah McLachlan album. I had brought Afterglow into the bookshop to play and just as I used to listen to Mirrorball over and again, I listened to Afterglow almost non-stop. I thought it absolutely beautiful. My favourite songs were definitely the first three tracks, Fallen, World on Fire and Stupid.

I remember N was called away on a business trip and stayed a week (in Denmark? Sweden? I can't quite recall). And for an entire week, I set my alarm clock to play Fallen in order to wake me so I could get ready for work. I love that song so much. And that was the week that I found out that I was pregnant with my Eldest.

And it's scary, isn't it? New relationships and motherhood. I remember being terrified at both. I remember thinking after N left to return to England that first time, that this thing between us could be something I messed up so wholly and completely. Our relationship could be something that could really destroy me but I was also so hopeful that it could be something that was really wonderful and beautiful.

Same for finding out I was pregnant. I was only 22 at the time and I really wasn't sure at all that I was capable of being a good mother. I worried and I doubted myself. And in that week on my own, with the sounds of Afterglow in my ears, I became a little hopeful.

That's what I hear when I hear Sarah McLachlan. New beginnings and hope.


  1. Thank you for introducing me to a singer I have never heard of before. Definitely my style of music. I will look up others songs of hers now.

  2. I love this entry! It's so beautifully written, and also it made me listen again to Sarah McLachlan. I remember hearing a few tracks of hers back in college, over a decade ago, and for some reason not connecting to them at the time, but I LOVE the track you shared here, and now I'm going to go look for the CD.

    And I know just what you mean about relationships having soundtracks.

  3. Wonderful post! I love Sarah McLachlan, I can't now remember how I first came across her (think it may have been Bob Harris' Saturday night radio show) but her music has been around me for years and years.

    I love the way you talk about what her music means to you - for me this is one of the wonderful things about music, so many people can listen to the same stuff and it holds memories and feelings that are personal to each individual. It's so nice hearing what specific music means to someone else, particularly when it means something so lovely.

  4. Beautiful post! I love her music

  5. I bloody love Sarah McLachlan, this post is brill - as always!x

  6. Vivienne - Really, you've not heard Sarah before? I highly recommend her! :)

    Stephanie - Thank you so much! I'm glad that you gave her another listen and connected in some way to the music this time. Perhaps like books, music needs the right timing as well?

    Jenni - Thank you, I really love her as well :) And I'm glad that you found my post interesting, I often wonder that I'm writing about things in enough of a relateable way. I find it fascinating to hear the details and the emotions behind music or books or art or what have you as well!

    Jules - Thank you :) As do I!

    Carly - Thank you :) Glad to see more Sarah fans about!

  7. I have one Sarah McLachlan CD that I bought in a library sale. I quite liked it so I've no idea why I haven't listened to more. This post has inspired me to do so!

  8. Like you, it was city of Angel that put me on to Sarah McLachan music, and didn't really remember her until I bought the surfacing album - especially loved "Do what you have to do". I think I listened to the whole of the Afterglow Nonstop when you lent it to me - I do think I sang along at the info desk when you bought it in everytime!

  9. Julianne - Oh that's wonderful :) I find her music is a very calming and soothing experience.

    Shadowfalcon - It is such a great album, no matter how many times it's played! I *still* sing along to Fallen every time I hear it and I've been listening to it almost non-stop since I've posted this blog! :)

  10. i love sarah's music. so beautiful

  11. Julianne - I think my comment responding to yours disappeared in the blogger crash :( But I hope you love listening to more Sarah :)

    Laura - I couldn't agree more!


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