In the seven studio albums since her 1989 release Touch, the beauty and elegance of Sarah McLachlan’s music has been rooted in haunting, metaphorical contemplation. Her eighth and latest endeavour, Shine On, has echoes of those ruminations yet is stunningly more open and impassioned. Love and hope are eminently evocative through many tracks even when addressing loss, such as in “Song For My Father” and “Surrender and Certainty,” both about the death of her parents. “Flesh and Blood” shows her renewal of passion in life, both the physical and emotional. “Beautiful Girl” addresses parent and child relationships, and “Love Beside Me” is an ethereal rock offering. McLachlan’s lilting and lyrical soprano is as euphoric as ever, familiar like a friend. Despite some newer elements and tones, this is the essential McLachlan millions have come to adore and admire—still intimate and personal, powerful and resonant.

– Kyle Poluyko