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4.3 out of 5 stars
Closer-The Best of Sarah McLachlan
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244 of 253 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Oh, ever since it was announced Sarah McLachlan was putting out a best of, I was impatient for it to get here. The song list had everything I wanted. Bought the disc, tore off the plastic, threw it in the player... and... Holy crap! Someone turned the treble up to 11 (yeah, Bob Ludwig, I'm lookin' at you!!!)!
This is one of the harshest sounding discs I've ever heard. Even when Sarah sings a word with the "f" sound in it, it sounds like an "s". THAT'S harsh. It hurts to listen to this cd. And I think it's 'cause discs are being mastered now with ipod in mind. I really do. There's no excuse for such a slipshod job. I pulled out my copy of 'Surfacing' to compare "Building a Mystery", "Sweet Surrender", Adia", and "Angel", and they beat the best of's versions easily. There's more warmth to the 'Surfacing' versions, and that disc is 11 years old!

Sarah and her fans deserve better. This disc has only been out a few days, and it already cries out to be remastered... by someone who knows what they're doing.

So, content: 5 stars
Sound quality: -3 stars
Total stars: 2
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141 of 145 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Sarah McLachlan is on of my favorite female vocalist, right up there with Loreena McKennitt and Aimee Mann. I bought this CD despite the reviews citing its poor audio quality. It really couldn't be that bad could it, I thought. Well it is that bad. It's unlikeable because of the terrible pitchy highs. Sarah deserved much better than this. Stay away from this one. You're much better off buying her original albums one at a time (if you get them used they are pretty cheap) and assembling your own list of 'best of' tracks by ripping them to your computer (I rip using FLAC file type so there is no loss in quality).

Sarah is awesome. The producers of this CD are terrible. Don't make the same mistake I did. Skip this one.
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98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2008
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I have loved Sarah McLachlan's work since she did a song called "Shelter"
for an In Defense of Animals cd in 1993. I love the songs on this cd, but OUCH what's up with these re-mixes? The songs were lovely as they were. These re-mixes warp the songs towards some kind of quazi disco sort of thing. I gave it a 3 because she is an incredible artist, but I find this cd very disappointing.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
It really is...too much missing for the true Sarahphile...if that was the only version available, better to download the 2 new tracks. This double is much more like it...the best 3 songs from "Touch" REMASTERED, the best 4 songs from "Solace" REMASTERED...then the most popular 5 songs from FTE, in a good context with the mesmerizing title track as Disc 1's closer, perfect.

Then Disc 2 has the hits from "Surfacing", the live hit of "I Will Remember You" from "Mirrorball", the 4 hits from her "comeback" album "Afterglow", then the 2 new songs "Don't Give Up On Us" & "U Want Me 2"...bringing things up to date, AND then ending the program with 3 worthy radio remixes and the sought-after, soundtrack & rarities-disc exclusive and superior studio version of "I Will Remember You".

Add a nice picture-and-art-filled booklet and simple-but-classy digipack packaging, and this is as good a Sarah anthology/hits collection as you can get, without there being a boxset. Not sure if there will ever BE a boxset, as Sarah had just left her sole, longtime US label Arista for her own label/internet releases, so "Closer" (apt title too) is a perfect label wrapup project...until her next album/next chapter.

Word of advice...if you are just a very basic radio/hits/casual Sarah fan, the single disc will do...HOWEVER, if you want more, are a bigger fan/admirer/friend, or want to look for a really good overview and deeper look than just the radio hits...

ONLY go for the double deluxe, ONLY.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Sarah McLachlan has one of the most striking voices that I've heard in the last 20 years, and this "best of" CD gives a good sampling of her music of this time period. Closer starts with three tracks that are from the era before she was an established musician. You can definitely tell that her voice is great on this tracks, but the only one the three that really stands up to repeated listening is "Path of Thorns". The production on "Vox" and "Into the Fire" show that these songs weren't really ready for primetime.

Tracks four through eleven are from the mega-hit period for Sarah. "Possession" is easily the best non-ballad that she has ever recorded with its tale of an obsessed fan set the ultimate instrumental hooks. The other standout in this section is the best ballad that she has recorded, "Angel". The combination of her voice and piano playing is almost beyond description it is so good. I don't think they missed anything from the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and Surfacing period.

Tracks twelve to fourteen are from Afterglow, and I think this is a fitting description as these feel like fire has gone out for Sarah by this point. If I were to include songs from this CD, these would be the ones. However you will notice a drop from the previous tracks.

The two new tracks are OK. While they are better than the Afterglow tracks, they don't reach back to the high bar that Sarah set in the 90's.

The one track that I would have liked to have seen on here "Ol' 55" from The Freedom Sessions. It is not a very well know track so I understand while they left it off, but it is a much better song than say "Stupid".

Overall, this is a nice introduction to Sarah McLachlan for those who do not already have her original studio releases. However, if you already own Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and Surfacing, you have the majority of what's worth having from this collection. Save yourself some money, and buy the two new tracks individually.

Download this: U Want Me 2
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Closer is a good buy, not only for newbies to Sarah's music, but for older fans too.

Newer fans will find all of Sarah's Canadian & US radio hits in a convenient package, as well as a few other non-single tracks hand picked by Sarah as some of her faves. Of course you *should* also buy all of her previous albums for their full effect, but most people aren't made of money and this will hit the spot nicely.

Older fans will find these tracks have been remastered, giving new life to some of the older recordings from Touch, Solace and FTE! As all older fans cherish those albums you owe it to yourself to pick up the double disc of closer and crank these tune on a nice stereo to reacquaint yourself with and old friend. You'll pick up on nuances that you've been missing for years . . .

Some reviews have noted poor sound quality - This isn't really the case in my opinion. On the whole the remastered tracks may be a touch bright sounding on analytical high-end stereos, but with warmer equipment (NAD, Marantz, Naim, Rega etc.) or most modest stereos all you'll really hear is added clarity. The bass has a little more authority and punch as well. The sibilance you may hear on the Touch & Solace tracks is no different than what was originally recorded though.

This is more than just 'another filler album' from Sarah McLachlan, I'll reiterate, this is a solid buy!

PS: Pony up the extra cash and get the double disc. :)

mike
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Considering the 2-CD Tracklisting, you'll agree that this is the only version of the album to have. I have often thought Sarah deserved a Greatest Hits Package a little earlier than this (there are some budget compilation packages out there, but nothing really 'essential'), and while its too much to expect a Box Set (which is really quite required considering Sarah has so many songs in storage that need to be released), this 2-CD edition of "Closer" serves as a fitting Greatest Hits.

If you are a new fan of Sarah, the 2-CD Package is the way to go. The one-disc edition is virtually useless, in my opinion, and in this day and age of digital downloads I can't imagine anyone shelling out hard earned cash for the physical copy of that CD.

For example, its a bit weird to have to buy a 'Deluxe Edition' of an album to get Sarah's signature hit "Building a Mystery". All her biggest hits, "Sweet Surrender", and even "Angel" are on the second disc, which is capped off by 'original versions' and 'radio remixes' (I frankly found the last four tracks on the second CD to be slightly unnecessary as they seemed way too edited down and pointless).

Bottom line : if at all youre interested in this album, pick up the 2-CD version - its the best one in the market right now if you are looking for a quick refresher on all things Sarah McLachlan.

Tracklisting:

CD 1

1. Vox
2. Steaming
3. Ben's Song
4. The Path Of Thorns (Terms)
5. Into The Fire
6. Drawn To The Rhythm
7. Mercy
8. Possession
9. Hold On
10. Good Enough
11. Ice Cream
12. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

CD 2

1. Building A Mystery
2. Sweet Surrender
3. Adia
4. Angel
5. I Will Remember You
6. Fallen
7. Stupid
8. World On Fire
9. Push
10. Don't Give Up On Us
11. U Want Me 2
12. Hold On (Radio Remix)
13. I Will Remember You (Original Version)
14. World On Fire (Radio Remix)
15. U Want Me 2 (Radio Remix)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
As a die hard fan of Sarah McLachlan's music I was happy to learn about this CD-set and I must say, this is a really good collection.
First of all it includes all of Sarah's best known songs as well as her personal favorites. The artwork is great and the pictures inside the booklet are beautiful, most of them very rare.
But I do complain a little bit.
To me it feels like disc 2 of this set includes some huge fillers;
* Hold On (Radio Remix)
* I Will Remember You (Original Version)
* World on Fire (Radio Remix)
* U Want Me 2 (Radio Remix)
First of all, these so called radio remixes sound pretty much the same as the original versions.
Second of all, three of these four 'extra songs' are on the 2nd disc twice!!
I for one would have prefferd songs like the beautiful I Love You (from Surfacing) or Ordinary Miracle (from the 'Charlotte's Web' soundtrack) or some other rare recordings. That would have made this collection even more perfect!
But... since Sarah and Arista allready gave us Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff vol. 2 eralier this year, I won't complain too much.

This collection is perfect if you've just discovered Sarah, or simply never purchased any of her albums.
If like me you already have all her other albums, it's just a nice bonus since there are 2 new recordings on it Don't Give Up On Us and U Want Me 2.

Rumour has it that Sarah will release a new (and loooooooooooooooooooong awaited) studio-album next year... I for one can't wait.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This CD is exactly what you would expect from a greatest hits collection. All of her big songs are there, as well as some other gems and if you are new to Sarah this is a great start.

For me she has always been one of those few artists who are much better live than with all that studio polish. For that reason I still have to go with Mirrorball over this collection for the best picture of who she is as an artist.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
As soon as I bought the MP3 of "I Will Remember You," I noticed 2 things right away

1. What's up with the crappy sound quality?

2. It's not the studio version, but a live performance. Hmmmm, it would have been nice to know that before I bought it.
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