Sarah McLachlan – Fumbling Towards Ecstasy: #802 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstacy

Why is Sarah McLachlan’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Much more than a standard issue album handed out at my undergrad dorms.

What does Sarah McLachlan’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

I heard Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and particularly the songs “Possession” and “Hold On,” a lot during my early college years at Binghamton University in New York. While I’m sure this wasn’t nearly universally true, it seemed like female undergrads were issued copies of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and an Indigo Girls’ album (see: the Indigo Girls self-titled album: #911 of the best 1,000 albums ever) upon entry to the school.

It was “Possession” that won me over first, with its gorgeous vocals and compelling trip hop beat and lush production. I vaguely assumed the lyrics were about the trials of love or some such, so was a little startled to learn the following while researching this album:

“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

I love the way that McLachlan’s voice cracks exactly how she wants it to in service of conveying a unique emotion. “Hold On” has great examples of this.

“Plenty” has a perfectly calibrated rock beat to give the song momentum while McLachlan’s vocals are as always spot on.

Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Sarah McLachlan’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

Some years back, Sarah McLachlan starred in a commercial that seemingly was on television constantly. She appeared in aid of a noble non-profit cause, helping to combat animal cruelty by funding animal rescue efforts and medical aid for abused pets. The ad features a lovely, sad ballad performed by McLachlan called “Angel.” Pretty amazing stuff…

…So I’m slightly ashamed to say that what stands out in my memory more than anything is the incredibly sad and mournful-looking dogs in the video, who stare at the camera while this heart wrenching Sarah McLachlan song plays. In fact, to this very day, when our dog Jack stares at us with a especially sad doggy face, my wife or I will say, “He’s giving us a Sarah McLachlan stare.”

Some stats & info about Sarah McLachlan – Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop Music, Alternative Pop, Singer Songwriter, Indie Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Fumbling Towards Ecstasy released? 1993
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #802 out of 1,000

Sarah McLachlan’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.