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Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Legacy Edition) [Audio Version]

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Album Review

Although 1991's Solace made Sarah McLachlan a star in Canada, her international breakthrough arrived two years later with Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, a softly assured album that combined the atmospheric production of Pierre Marchand (a former apprentice — and evident disciple — of Daniel Lanois) with some of McLachlan's strongest songwriting to date. At the center of everything was her voice, an ethereal, lilting soprano that helped pave the way for Paula Cole, Lillith Fair, and a decade's worth of successful female songwriters. McLachlan utilized the crack between her chest and head voice, emphasizing the changing tones as her melodies climbed into the vocal stratosphere. She was also comparatively young at the time of Ecstasy's release, and her combination of vocal hooks and commercial appeal wouldn't be fully mastered until 1997's Surfacing. Even so, McLachlan's work was rarely as raw or honest as it is here, where tales of sin, lust, and love are delivered alongside piano arpeggios and electronic flourishes. "Possession," the album's lead-off single, is a jarring love ballad with lyrics inspired by a stalker's correspondence. There's a double-edged quality to the song's eerie lines — "I'll take your breath away," "I won't be denied," "Just close your eyes, dear" — and Marchand underscores that tension by setting McLachlan's melodies to a nocturnal trip-hop beat. Elsewhere, the two lighten up with "Ice Cream," which likens love's sweetness to decadent deserts, yet Fumbling Towards Ecstasy takes most of its strength from the lush, rhythmic dreamscapes that dominate the album. Alternately dark and shimmering, intimate and ornate, soothing and slyly unsettling, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy launched McLachlan's international star power while setting a high bar for her future albums, many of which approached — but not never quite eclipsed — this career highlight. [The Japanese version of the CD was released with a bonus track.]

Customer Reviews

One of those "deserted island" cds....

McLachlan has never been better than this. There's a arch, or a pace, to the album that transcends anything she's done since. Like Damien Rice's "O" or Sinead O'Connor's "Lion and Cobra," the album has a feel, the songs overlap each other, and the lyrics pull the whole thing full circle. That's not to say that "Fumbling" ended her career. But - in its total - the album is a tough act to follow. Like all masterpieces, it will endure.

Fumbling and the Freedom sessions bundled together!

This is a great fluke I guess, you get "Fumbling" and the "Freedom Sessions" together for the low price of $9.99. But, if you go out and buy the Legacy Edition set in stores you'll get that plus a lengthly DVD of the "Fumbling" tour. The DVD also has some in-studio performances and interviews. Buying the CD/DVD set will be more costly, but It is way worth it to get the DVD.

Best ever

For me this is the best album of all-time...period.


Born: January 28, 1968 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Since her debut in 1988, Sarah McLachlan's atmospheric folk-pop has gained a devoted following not only in her native Canada, where she established star status with her first album, but also in the U.S. and U.K. The following two decades saw her grow both as a musician and songwriter, continually redefining herself and emerging as a major voice in the growing adult alternative pop format. She also founded Lilith Fair, a concert tour that helped usher other female songwriters into the mainstream during...
Full Bio