Song of the Day #1,287: ‘Time’ – Sarah McLachlan

I’ve gone through seven different weekend series over the past two and a half years. Starting in May of 2009, I’ve featured (in order) Motown, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Ron Sexsmith, Brad Paisley and Paul Simon.

Faced with the need for a new weekend theme, my first thought was that I’d have to go with a woman. With the exception of about half of the Motown tracks, I’ve gone through 250+ weekend songs by men.

But considering the options, I realized that few of my favorite female artists meet the requirements for a weekend series (the requirement being, basically, at least 8 albums worth of material to feature). The only two serious candidates were Aimee Mann and Lucinda Williams, and I’ve dedicated theme weeks to each of them already and feared redundancy. I might still return to them for a future weekend option.

While kicking around some options based more on theme than performer, it struck me that I’ve featured fewer than 10% of the total songs in my iTunes library. Why not just dip into the other 90% blindly and see what I come up with? So I hereby introduce Random Weekends.

I’m reminded of a game that was briefly popular when iPods were just starting to become ubiquitous. A few friends would gather, all hit ‘shuffle’ on their iPods at the same time and announce the song that came up. It was then up to the group to decide who won the round — which song was best. God forbid you wind up with a long-forgotten Spin Doctors song matched up against The Rolling Stones and My Morning Jacket.

Our music collections hold deep, dark secrets. Which guilty pleasures will be surfaced by Random Weekends? My only rules are these: No repeats of songs I’ve already featured on the blog, and no gimmick tracks, such as the minute of ambient noise that separates two songs on an album or a 30 second skit on a rap album. Otherwise, everything is fair game. I promise not to cheat to protect my reputation.

As I write this, I have not yet spun the dial to reveal the first song. I guess I’ll go ahead and do that now….

OK, first up is Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Time’ from her 2003 album Afterglow. I imagine everybody assumed, halfway through this post, that I was about to launch into Sarah McLachlan Weekends. Scary thought.

McLachlan has put out two classic albums (Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and Surfacing) but midway through their follow-up record, Afterglow, she hit a wall and never recovered. The first several songs on this album are very good but then it just falls off. And her next record, Laws of Illusion, sounded like somebody doing a bad imitation of Sarah McLachlan.

Today’s song, my first Random Weekend selection, is pleasant enough but clearly comes from the period after McLachlan ran out of gas.

Time here all but means nothing
Just shadows that move ‘cross the wall
They keep me company
But they don’t ask of me
They don’t say nothing at all

And I need just a little more silence
And I need just a little more time

But you send your thieves to me
Silently stalking me
Dragging me into your war
Would you give me no choice in this?
I know you can’t resist, trying to reopen a sore

[Chorus]
Leave me be, I don’t wanna argue
I’d just get confused and I’d come all undone
And if I agree, well, it’s just to appease you
‘Cause I don’t remember what we’re fighting for

You see, love, the tight, thorny thread
That you spin in a circle of gold
To have me, to hold me
A token for all to see
Captured to be yours alone

And I need just a little more silence
And I need just a little more time
The courage to pull away
There will be hell to pay
The deeper you cut to the bone

[Chorus]

Time here all but means nothing
Just shadows that move across the wall
They keep me company
But they don’t ask of me
They don’t say nothing at all.

[Chorus]

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,287: ‘Time’ – Sarah McLachlan

  1. Amy says:

    Love this idea for theme weekends! Do you have a shelf life planned? Obviously this is a theme that could take you through 2014 without the bat of an eyelash.

    Yes, when I first saw the title for today’s SOTD, I thought two things – “OOO… he’s finally picked a female artist for his weekend posts,” and, then, “but Sarah McLachlan? Will she have enough material to make these weekends work?” As I read on, I assumed you were going to devote each weekend to a different female artist in your collection, and I might make that suggested amendment to your rules. Why not only use random female artists who pop up in your iTunes library? Do we really need to hear another song by Bob Dylan, Rufus, Ron Sexsmith, and the other male artists who likely populate your library? Let’s face it – the likelihood that songs by those folks will pop up is pretty great.

    Still, a lovely though not particularly inspiring song to launch a very promising series. I look forward to seeing what you serve up over the next countless number of weekends.

  2. Clay says:

    I suspect I’ll keep this up for quite awhile, both because it’s less work and I’m very curious to see the results over time.

    I thought about doing random women (ok, that came out wrong) and maybe I’ll go there down the road, but for now I want to see what a truly random selection turns up.

  3. Dana says:

    Well Amy said what I was going to say. I did initially think/fear that you were launching into McLachlan weekends. And I do think this random selections weekends idea is a great one. No need to limit to women though as Amy suggests. Perhaps just limit it to Jewish artists:)

    Anyway, I generally like McLachlan’s sound and this song is no exception. Not sure why or how she went terribly wrong after this album, but I’ll take your word for it.

    So, is tomorrow’s random selection going to be a track from the Wiggles that you have failed to delete from your iTunes library?

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