Sarah McLachlan, “Angel”

“Angel” takes a soft approach in dealing with an issue that seems to be in the news every day.

Drug use, and overuse, have seemingly always been part of life, and the popular stereotype is that drugs are more attractive to artistic people than to the status quo. Songs like Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” or Trent Reznor’s’ “Hurt” address the despair and grief of drug addiction head-on, while Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” takes a softer approach in dealing with an issue that seems to be in the news every day. “Angel” is about the pain of life and getting away from it all through drugs, with sometimes tragic results. From McLachlan’s 1997 album Surfacing, the track wasn’t released as a single until more than a year after the album’s release. She told Kurt B. Reighley of CMJ New Music Monthly in 1997 that “Angel” was inspired by a “series of Rolling Stone articles over the past year and a half, typically about heroin in the music industry, and all these people who, one by one, are getting picked off by it. And I just felt a really great empathy in some way for these people. I’ve been in that place where … you’re so lost that you don’t know who you are, and you’re miserable –…

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