Contrite about an embarrassing mistake that has alienated friends, the singer turns to heaven for help (“Fallen”). She praises a loving partner (“Train Wreck,” “Push”) and promises to be his “solid ground” amidst life’s storms (“Answer”). During a verbal sparring session, “Time” finds a woman wisely creating space to keep the conflict from escalating (“Leave me be/I don’t want to argue … I need just a little more silence/I need just a little more time”). Feeling buried by her man’s unrealistic expectations, a less than “Perfect Girl” condemns his cruel vision of romance, yet pledges to stand by his side as he regains perspective. Despite being overwhelmed by a “World on Fire,” McLachlan’s social conscience stirs her to bring healing where she can.
Although it proves fruitless, the singer pulls an all-nighter “drinking to drown my sorrows down” on “Dirty Little Secret.”
Not as much hopelessness as we’ve heard in the past from Sarah McLachlan. Aside from one misguided dive into alcohol (the disc’s final track), Afterglow invests most of its energy in the study of imperfect relationships and how to improve them through humility, hard work, dedication and tough love.