5 Classic Sarah McLachlan Songs Revisited

REX USA/KEVIN WISNIEWSKI
Sarah McLachlan performing in 1998.

We're celebrating Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan's birthday today (Jan. 28) by revisiting a few of our favorite songs.

In addition to the praise she's received for her angelic voice, McLachlan has been recognized for her contributions to women in music. In 1997, she co-founded the female billed Lilith Fair, the top-grossing music festival of the year. In an interview with VH1, she explained "the tour is not meant to push men aside, it's meant to celebrate the fact that woman finally have a strong voice. We just want to make things a little more balanced." Continuing her trend of giving back, in 2011 she opened the Sarah McLachlan School of Music in Canada to provide music education for children.

Here are 5 of our favorite songs spanning her remarkable career:

"Possession" (1993) 

"Would I spend forever here and not be satisfied?"

The first single off McLachlan's highly acclaimed Fumbling Towards Ecstasy album introduced her haunting vocals to the masses. The song, which she refers to as "a touchy subject," was written after receiving correspondence from an obsessive fan and became her therapeutic way of dealing with the issue. Her message peaked at No. 73 on the Hot 100 chart and No. 4 on the Alternative Songs chart.

"Building A Mystery" (1997)

"You feed off our fears and hold back your tears."

​The summer of 1997 gave us of McLachlan's fourth album, Surfacing, and the first-ever Lilith Fair tour, which she co-founded and headlined. McLachlan revealed that the song is about the fact that we all wear masks at some point in our lives, and we all have insecurities we want to hide -- a sentiment powerful and relatable enough to earn a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The song peaked at No. 13 on the Hot 100 chart and No. 3 on the Alternative Songs chart.

"Sweet Surrender" (1998)

"It doesn't mean much it doesn't mean anything at all."

The inspiration for the song came after watching the Academy Award-nominated film Leaving Las Vegas, which she refers to as "a beautiful and tragic love story." The song is about accepting the "ugly things" and being able to appreciate the fact that someone can love you, especially when you think you are completely unlovable. The end result peaked at No. 28 on the Hot 100 chart and No. 14 on the Alternative Songs chart.

"Adia" (1998)

"We are born innocent."

McLachlan's first song to enter the top 5 on the Hot 100 chart is about her problem feeling responsible for everybody else.  

"Fallen" (2003)

"I have sunk so low. I messed up. Better I should know."

The first single off McLachlan's Afterglow album peaked at No. 41 on the Hot 100 chart. In an interview with Pure Songwriters, she referred to the concept of the music video as a "cleansing of her mistakes."  

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