In Sarah’s Wonderland (Music Thoughts: Wonderland, Sarah McLachlan)

mi0004131012It’s *that* time of the year again, as they say. I used to look forward to the Holiday season, but even then I always felt a sense of melancholy at the same time. That feeling has been multiplied in recent years when my parents passed on. Now I just dread these days.  The first Christmas album of the season has fallen on my lap, and it couldn’t be more appropriate for what I am feeling nowadays – Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Wonderland’ is a perfect happy/sad album, though if you ask me, it skews more towards the very sad.

Something about her singing makes me very sad. I am not a music professional but it seems all her arrangements are in minor key, marking everything with just a stamp of bitter sadness. Even traditionally joyous songs like ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Let It Snow’ sounds just a bit down-turned, and for my money, she has the most meaningfully depressive tone since Karen Carpenter. At first, I thought this album was a big sellout project for her, but no, this album s very true to who she is as an artist. This is not the album you play while trimming your tree – this is the one you wallow in as you sit by your fireside alone and loveless on Christmas Eve. The irony? This album makes me happy.

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