In 1996, as a nifty way to help bridge the excruciating three-year gap between her critical breakthrough (the sultry slow burn Fumbling Towards Ecstasy) and her commercial arrival (the Lilith-fueled smash Surfacing), Sarah McLachlan released Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff, a collection of little-heard remixes, covers, and original tracks anchored by her knockout take on Joni Mitchell’s legendary touchstone “Blue.” And now, twelve years later, McLachlan returns to that well with Rarities…,Vol. 2, the title of which is a probable misnomer: seeing as she’s a hell of a lot more famous now than she was back then, a great many of this album’s songs aren’t quite so rare.

Which is not to say you won’t enjoy them all the same. Included here are a trio of motion picture soundtrack contributions — “Ordinary Miracle,” from 2006’s Charlotte’s Web; “Blackbird,” from 2002’s I Am Sam; and what stands as perhaps the finest vocal performance of her entire career (I’d only put Fumbling‘s magnificent “Good Enough” ahead of it, and even then, with great hesitation), the Academy Award-nominated “When She Loved Me,” from 1999’s Toy Story 2 — and a litany of superstar collaborations — among others, a duet with Cyndi Lauper on a remake of Lauper’s 1984 classic “Time After Time” (which appeared on Lauper’s 2005 record The Body Acoustic); a live rendition of “Angel” with special guest Emmylou Harris; and a team-up with my crazy best friend’s favorite new band The Perishers, on a harrowing track called “Pills” (a handy Sarah McLachlan & The Perishers - Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff, Vol. 2 - Pills (Live) link for which can be found here, Sherry Ann). To be sure, this latest installment of Rarities doesn’t fully sate the need for a new Sarah studio album (and not counting Wintersong, McLachlan’s 2006 Christmas album, it’s been five loooong years and counting), but if you missed one or more of these tunes the first time around (or if you would simply like to have them all in one compact collection), there are certainly far worse expenditures of your time.

10 responses to “this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness”

  1. the buzz from Sherry Ann:

    I love Sarah and I looove The Perishers, so put those hands together. For those of you who are not familiar with The Perishers, you should check out their album Let There Be Morning. The stand-out track is called “Sway”.

  2. the buzz from A.:

    It so happens that Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are the first two DVDs in my (rather meager) DVD collection) – they were a Thanksgiving present from my parents during my first year of graduate school. For this and other reasons, I have a fondness for these two films.

    Undoubtedly “When She Loved Me” is the stand-out song from those two films, but the first track from the Toy Story 2 soundtrack, “Woody’s Roundup,” serves as a nice introduction to the group Riders in the Sky, whom I saw last year with the LA Philharmonic at the Holllywood Bowl. For someting “a little different,” check out some of their classic Western songs!

    (Notice too how this response has virtually nothing to do with the original post!)

  3. the buzz from Mike T:

    There are many beautiful songs on this cd, but, I admit to being disappointed by her near-blasphemous remake of ‘The Rainbow Connection.’ Once the immortal Kermit the Frog has made a song a classic, any attempts to reprise it just fall short. At least she knew not to tackle ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green!’

  4. the buzz from brandon:

    Whaddya know, Mike, we actually agree! I think “near-blasphemous” is a soupcon over the top — McLachlan’s take on it isn’t nearly as criminally limpid as, say, Jason Mraz’s — but I wasn’t terribly moved by “Rainbow” either. But Ol’ Kermie still brings a tear to my eye whenever I remember hearing this song for the first time.

  5. the buzz from Sherry Ann:

    Why do you insist on insulting my beloved Jason Mraz every chance that you get? “Criminally limpid”?!? I totally agree that once Kermie sings a song it is sung, so any attempt to cover it is totally not needed. Jason’s is kinda sweet though!! I love the way he delivers the lyric “star gazing”. Stop picking on my future husband!!!

  6. the buzz from brandon:

    I knew that was gonna draw a reaction!

  7. the buzz from Sherry Ann:

    Bet your ass!! I love ya though!

  8. the buzz from brandon:

    Let’s see if you still feel that way when you read this week’s forthcoming Mraz/DeGraw/Cabrera/McCartney Buzz post. 😉

  9. the buzz from Sherry Ann:

    I am intrigued about where you are going with this one! The first two I understand, but how do Cabrera and McCartney fit in? I guess we will see if we are still talking after your post. But be warned, you have met your Jason Mraz insult quota for the month.

  10. the buzz from brandon:

    July 1 isn’t that far away, and it’ll *definitely* keep. 🙂