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Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

4.8 out of 5 stars 426 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 15, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sarah McLachlan: Fumbling Towards Ecstasy! 1993 Arista / BMG Direct Issue! Personnel: Sarah McLachlan (vocals, acoustic & electric guitar, piano); Bill Dillon (guitar, Guitorgan, piano, bass); Jane Scarpantoni (cello); Michel Dubeau (saxophone); Pierre Marchand (piano, keyboards, bass, percussion, programming); David Kershaw (Hammond B-3 organ); Brian Minato (bass); Jerry Marotta (drums, percussion); Guy Nadon, Ashwin Sood, Lou Shefano (drums). TRACKS: 1. Possession; 2. Wait; 3. Plenty; 4. Good Enough; 5. Mary; 6. Elsewhere; 7. Circle; 8. Ice; 9. Hold On; 10. Ice Cream; 11. Fear; & 12. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.


Pre-Lilith Fair, McLachlan had critical acclaim and a cult following but was otherwise just another hard-working female singer/songwriter--one who wasn't blasting down doors with overt sexuality or popping along in front of a male Svengali. Similar in their emotional urgency to her more recent work but delightfully less polished, these folk-rock songs are surprising gems. If not for McLachlan's poignant vocals, lyrics like "Your love is better than ice cream" (on "Ice Cream") would sound childishly absurd (especially alongside deeper material like "Hold On"), but here they're given just as much respect as the weightier issues she explores. A great album to accompany your moments of introspection. --Rebecca Wallwork

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Possession
  2. Wait
  3. Plenty
  4. Good Enough
  5. Mary
  6. Elsewhere
  7. Circle
  8. Ice
  9. Hold On
  10. Ice Cream
  11. Fear
  12. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 15, 1994)
  • Original Release Date: February 15, 1994
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 53 minutes
  • ASIN: B000002VN7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (426 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,148 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Every few months or so, I come across an artist or band that I previously would not have taken much interest in because their music genre didn't fit what I see as my preference. Usually, the artist blows me away and becomes an obsession of which a race swiftly brews where I must buy nearly every album they've released. Examples from the past few years are Alanis Morissette, Bjork, Sheryl Crow and Lauryn Hill. And then there's Sarah McLachlan, my latest discovery. Being an avid Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, I always knew who Sarah was, but couldn't really put a face to the voice. I'd heard her songs, but never thought about exploring her music. For some unknown reason, I went ahead and bought two of her albums on the same day. These were "Solace" and "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy." The former has received few spins on my CD player, but only because the latter has been hogging all the time...

Let me just say that once I heard this album, I was completely sold. Sarah's angelic vocals warmed me from the inside and enveloped me in a trance, and in that moment I knew I had to own her entire back catalogue. Released in 1994, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy was the third studio album from Sarah after her debut "Touch" and the sophomore set Solace. Sarah was still a fairly unknown with the release of this third album, but since its 1994 release it has gone on to become a masterpiece of the decade and touched millions with its beautiful lyrics, gorgeous vocals and soothing harmonies.

The album opens with the beautiful and sly "Possession." This song is trademark McLachlan and still one of her most popular songs. The song is a real life encounter that Sarah experienced of a stalker who constantly sent her letters.
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Format: Audio CD
It's difficult not to use superlatives when describing Sarah McLachlan's music but for this album I have no guilt whatsoever at resorting to them. It is quite simply one of the finest albums ever recorded and listening to it for the first time became a milestone in my life.
The first of Sarah's songs I heard was "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" on the soundtrack to an episode of Due South (thank you Paul Haggis!) and I was immediately smitten, resolving to buy the CD immediately. That's not so easy when you can't elicit the title from the lyrics but thanks to repeats and VCRs I was finally able to put a name to the voice. This album, depending on how you look at it, is the best or the worst way to be introduced to her music. Best in that it's a tour-de-force of songwriting, performance and passion on her part and worst in that it does rather spoil you for her other albums, none of which come close to the stunning impact of this one IMO.
"Possession" and the titular song are, unquestionably, the finest songs on the album and they vie for the top spot in my affections. "Wait", "Good Enough", "Hold On" and "Ice Cream" are almost as good. "Fear" is the most individual track with a haunting air and moving lyrics and serves as a wonderful lead-in to "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy". For me this is Sarah's most consistent and wonderful album and will always remain a favourite companion.
If you're lucky enough to get the non-US version of the CD it should include a bonus track (in addition to the hidden version of "Possession" tacked on at the end of track 12), a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Blue". It's strange to hear Sarah's voice singing Joni's words but it works and I've grown to love it almost as much as Sarah's own songs.
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By A Customer on February 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I don't quite possess the vocabulary to describe this CD; I'm not sure there's words in the English language to describe the pure emotion concealed in the poetry of the beautiful lyrics and the melody of Sarah's incredible voice. I can, however, say that this is one of the most stunning CDs I have ever heard... and I will say exactly that, because it's true. Sarah has a positive genius for capturing the essense of what makes us human in her songs, lending them a depth that sets them apart from many shallow "contemporary" artists of the day. Her words have impact. You can't help being drawn in by their honesty and sheer poetic grace.
It's impossible to choose favorites on a disk like this, because all of the songs are unique and beautiful in their own way. Still, certain songs are so hauntingly lovely that they deserve a special mention: "Hold On", "Elsewhere", "Ice", "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy", "Fear", and the hidden track, a piano version of "Possession", stick out in my mind as masterpieces by this wonderful artist. The last two tracks I mentioned in particular have an elusive quality of lucid, haunting beauty that strikes me to the core each time I hear them. They are truly stirring in a way that can only be experienced, not described.
This is no ordinary album, and it's one that you simply can't afford to miss. If you don't own it, what the heck are you waiting for! Get it right away... no CD collection should overlook this priceless gem.
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Format: Audio CD
You may be wondering exactly what you are getting with this "Legacy" edition of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. It amounts to unaltered versions of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and The Freedom Sessions [EP] along with a DVD that matches track for track with the 1994 release of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy: Live as listed on Sarah McLachlan's discography page. In other words there's nothing new here. Most people will already own some or all of these if they have been longtime Sarah fans. However the three items are bundled at a really good price if you don't have any of these yet.

If you do not already on these, you have been missing out. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy has the song that propelled Sarah into prominence, and of course is Possession. The entire CD is great, but rather than rehash what so many others have already said so well would point you to the reviews on the page from the link above. The same can be said for The Freedom Sessions. There's less information on the DVD as I'm not sure if the product Amazon has marked as a 2005 release is indeed the same as what's offered here. However, there are a few songs on the DVD from prior CDs, and all of the performances have the subtle nuances that you would expect in a live performance. It is not a simple recreation of the studio edition on the stage.

The one thing that would have been nice to add would be Sarah's reflections today on the CD that made her the raging success she is today. However this is consistent with what she has done for many years in favoring repackaging of previous work (remixes, live, etc.) over new. For new fans this will be a great pickup, but longtime fans won't find anything new.
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