Album Review: Sarah McLachlan - Laws of Illusion (2010)


17. Mär. 2012, 20:17

Sarah McLachlan - Laws of Illusion

Sarah McLachlan's most recent album was released in June 2010, almost 7 years after her last 'normal' studio album Afterglow (her seasonal album, Wintersong, was released in 2006). I bought this album in May of last year (2011) to complete my collection of her. To be honest, I'm still not completely sure what to think about this album. It contains beautiful songs, but it doesn't grab me the same way as some of her previous albums. Some of the melodies are quite complicated and inaccessible. Sometimes melody and rhythm don't fit so well with the words, which makes the whole sound of the song a bit off. The album also lacks in cohesion and the songs are not fitting very well together. But maybe this is due to the order of the songs, which seems to be a bit at random. Like the album itself, also the booklet seems to lack a bit of cohesion. The pictures of Sarah are beautiful and even a bit sexy, but seem to be all from different photo-shoots. But overall the booklet is nice, containing all of the lyrics which I really appreciate. The picture on the front is beautiful as well, as is the theme with the moon and stars. The title of the album "Laws of Illusion" should originally have been "Loss and Illusion". But she chose the final title when she proposed the original title to her producer and he misunderstood her, hearing "Laws of Illusion" instead. The best song of the album in my opinion is U Want Me 2 which was previously released on her best-of album "Closer: The Best of Sarah McLachlan". I really like the melody and especially the lyrics. It's such a beautiful song. Another great song is Changes, one I started to like pretty early on. I like the kind of waltzing, easy-going rhythm and the lyrics are beautiful as well, especially the end of the chorus where she sings: "Would you dance with me, dance with me now?" Two other songs I would like to mention, which grew on me during the past week are Forgiveness and Rivers of Love. The first one is really sensitive and touching. Like most of the songs on this album, it is about her separation from her husband in 2008 and all kind of emotions she felt afterwards. I really like the emotion displayed in the lyrics. It's also a familiar feeling not to be able to forgive someone when something really painful has happened. Rivers of Love has a very nice, slow rhythm and is quite atmospheric, a beautiful song to dream away on, with great lyrics as well. Most of the songs on this album are piano-based, unlike her earlier albums on which she played the guitar more often. But besides the piano a lot of other instrumentation is added which makes the songs sound a bit full and a bit too much like generic contemporary pop songs. It would have been better to strip some of the instrumentation to have more focus on her beautiful voice and give the album more of the singer-songwriter feeling of her earlier albums. Though I don't want to be too much on the negative side, because this is not a bad album. Although it is not very original or renewing, Sarah's voice is as beautiful, sensitive and vulnerable as ever, most of the lyrics are beautiful and cryptic and the atmosphere of the songs is good to dream away on. Maybe I just need to give it some more listening...

An example of a song that doesn't really fit with her in my opinion:

Best tracks: Changes, Forgiveness, Rivers of Love, U Want Me 2

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  • MustBeDreaming1

    Iris, can you advise me a complicated song from her? I think, it can be pretty interesting :-)

    8. Apr. 2012, 17:49
  • irisvanhoorn

    Hmmm... I'm not sure if 'complicated' was the right word to use... what I mean is that the melodies are not really easy to listen to. Examples are: "Awakenings", and "Illusions of Bliss". But I wouldn't describe them as interesting...

    15. Apr. 2012, 12:33
  • MustBeDreaming1

    Wow, it's strange: I've listened to Awakenings and it's really a great song! Definitely, the second or the third best Sarah's song for me :-) Illusions of Bliss haven't got me, though, I didn't like those country influences. And the four songs you marked as the best ones haven't impressed me too.. :-)

    17. Apr. 2012, 6:52
  • irisvanhoorn

    Oh, that's strange indeed, Awakenings is one of her songs I really don't like at all. So finally we have some disagreements ;-) I really love Forgiveness and U Want Me 2 (both in my top 10).

    21. Apr. 2012, 20:46
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