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Sarah McLachlan

'Glow' Girl

SarahSix years is a long time between studio albums -- but sometimes life gets in the way. Canadian pop powerhouse Sarah McLachlan actually spent about 21/2 years working on her latest Arista disc, "Afterglow," the follow-up to her 1997 breakthrough album, "Surfacing." But its release was sidetracked while the artist dealt with the death of her mother and gave birth to her first child.

Despite this interval, McLachlan's ethereal voice and haunting lyrics have already been warmly ushered onto the airwaves. First single "Fallen" debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Digital Tracks chart and is No. 10 on the Adult Top 40 tally this week.

"A lot of different kinds of music have dominated the airwaves for so long that hopefully now there is a place for me," McLachlan says. Indeed, the set contains numerous single-worthy tracks and remarkable musical and lyrical moments.

"Answer" is about finding the love of your life. "Push" delves into the give-and-take in a relationship and features a melodic, calming accompaniment. Airy background vocals form the backdrop to "Time," a track about the confusion of love. Another standout track is "World On Fire," about living in today's confusing world.

"My guideline for success -- and this is really, truthfully honest -- is whether I am really proud of this record. If I am proud of the record, which I am, then I let it go," she says. "If other people like it, then that's a big old bonus for me." McLachlan will tour in support of the album next year, first going to Europe, Australia and Japan and then focusing on North America in the summer.