Daily Archives: September 17, 2011

Possession

When the broadcast levee broke on so-called “alternative” music in 1993-1994, it brought with it a great variety of new sound: artists that had cut their teeth on the college scene and major-label talent that had yet to be commercially differentiated into the conventional categories of rock, pop and “adult contemporary.”

Part of this was no doubt due to radio stations playing with their formats to capture the market as much as an actual multithreaded musical movement, but no matter the cause, it was a joy to listen to. I could tune in late at night in the summer of ’94 and hear Counting Crows followed by Bad Religion followed by REM followed by Red Hot Chili Peppers followed by the Indigo Girls followed by Smashing Pumpkins followed by Pearl Jam, Nirvana or any number of vaguard grunge groups that had (willingly or not) pulled all the rest of the alternative artists onto the stage with them.

Hearing the opening organ vamp of Sarah McLachlan’s “Possession” always excited me; it had a controlled, pulsating smoothness and a rounded feminine edge that distinguished it from the more punkish, manic female groups of the day such as Hole or the Breeders.

I recall my guitar instructor had a mad crush on McLachlan. She really hit it big in the States in late 90’s with Fumbling Towards EcstasySurfacing and its killer single “Building a Mystery,” and headlining the Lilith Fair. She’s written a number of great songs. Possession remains my favorite, if only because it reminds of one of the most exciting musical times of my life.

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