Release Date: May 6, 2014
Record label: Verve
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Pop/Rock
Shine On captures Sarah McLachlan at a period of transition, switching labels (she's signed with Verve after decades at Arista) and experiencing the death of her father and divorce from her husband. Some of this turbulence can be heard underneath the surface of Shine On -- explicitly so on "Song for My Father" and "Broken Heart," whose titles give their game away -- but the defining characteristic of this seventh McLachlan studio album is not despair but rather hope. Certainly, there is melancholy here -- a feeling that surfaces in the slower, gentler moments, the kind of sound that is heavily associated with McLachlan's mid-'90s hits -- but there's also a surprising, resilient buoyancy here, manifesting itself in big, ringing adult alternative pop tunes that pepper the album.
Sarah McLachlan’s latest disc Shine On is reportedly inspired by both the death of her father and her desire to live with more resilience going into the second half of her life. Coming as it does on the heels of the aching, heartbreak-drenched Laws of Illusion, this would lead the casual observer to think another dark, brooding affair is just around the bend. Surprisingly, for an album inspired by loss, Shine On starts with the light-on-its-feet ballad “In Your Shoes”.
Plagued by increasingly middling album sales, Sarah McLachlan is in a position to take the kind of risks she was probably wise to eschew in the wake of her blockbuster 1997 album Surfacing. Though longtime collaborator Pierre Marchand is on board for most of the songs, Shine On marks the first time since her 1988 debut that the singer-songwriter has worked on an album with producers other than him. It's also her first effort since her departure from Arista Records.
“Pushin’ on, pushin’ on, isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?” Natalie Merchant sings on her self-titled new album, a set of dark, brave, thoughtful and serenely startling songs that is her first album in 13 years with her own lyrics. Ms. Merchant, 50, had million-selling albums in the 1980s with 10,000 Maniacs and in the 1990s on her own before turning away from a routine pop career after her somber 2001 album, “Motherland.
Twenty-five years into her career, Sarah McLachlan does what she does and you’re either out or in when it comes to the Canadian songbird’s pleasant, gorgeously sung, but perhaps not always exciting, adult contemporary pop. Fans will definitely want in on “Shine On,” McLachlan’s first new release in four years and home to several standout tracks in the11-song collection. Although not generally known for humor, she gets off a great punch line on one of the album’s best songs, “Monsters.