SARAH McLACHLAN Afterglow (Nettwerk) Rating: NN
Considering Sarah McLachlan was one of my earliest musical obsessions (nothing screams teen angst like Path Of Thorns!), I really, really want to like her still. But in the years since becoming Lilith Fair's earth-mama grande dame, McLachlan has turned into a giant pastiche of what she once was. I'm not talking the self-aware Saturday Night Live sketch that is, say, Madonna's laughable state of self-parody. This is a bloodless rehash of the atmospheric, soaring folk-dance pop prototype McLachlan cemented with producer Pierre Marchand on Fumbling Toward Ecstasy, which has become more insipid with each successive release. Forward-thinking in 94, a decade later she just sounds stale. Plus, I can't accept writhing-in-agony lyrics from a woman who's transformed herself into a New Agey brand name.