"The Laws of Illusion"
(Arista, June 15)
Sarah McLachlan likes to take her time: Her seventh studio album will be her first new material since 2003's "Afterglow," which came six years after its predecessor. "I write slowly and I have two kids, and that's the most honest answer," McLachlan says. "It's sort of a luxurious position I'm in, that I get to keep my toe in the water and make music. I do a lot of charity gigs and one-offs, and I've just been slowly writing-everything sort of fell apart for me personally a couple of years ago [McLachlan split from husband Ashwin Sood in 2008], and it's been sort of a long, slow road coming back and redefining myself."
"The Laws of Illusion" is produced by McLachlan's longtime collaborator Pierre Marchand and focuses, appropriately, on themes of "illusions and loss," McLachlan says. "I was kind of toying with that as the title at first, and then Pierre-being French Canadian-said to me, 'Laws? Laws and illusions? Is that what you said? I like that.' The [actual title] is a little less obvious; it's a little less black than 'Illusions and Loss.' And I like the fact that it doesn't really make any sense."
McLachlan says the overall album is more uptempo than much of her previous work. The single "Loving You Is Easy," released as a stream two weeks ago, "in particular is extremely lighthearted," she says. "I would almost go as far as to say really happy." Despite the time gap between albums, McLachlan says most of the songs were written in the past year and recorded during two marathon five-day sessions. "One of the choruses is about 6 years old; I just never found a verse to go with it," she says. "It found its form just a couple months ago."
Now that she's back, McLachlan is going all in-two weeks after "The Laws of Illusion" is released, she will hit the road for the revival of Lilith Fair, the festival celebrating female musicians that she co-founded and spearheaded from 1997 to 1999. "It seemed like, 'OK, we can do this. I'm going to get this record done and it's going to be the greatest thing in the world,' " she says. "That's how I started Lilith, with 'Surfacing.' And I just thought, 'OK, here's the new chapter. Let's go. Bring it on.' "
Previous album and sales: "Wintersong," 973,000 (according to Nielsen SoundScan)