“I Love You” empathizes with a woman desperate to find the words to tell her man how much she cares. Pondering the nature of heaven, the singer longs to be lifted “out of the darkness of doubt” (“Witness”). On “Angel,” McLachlan seeks sanctuary from the world’s “vultures and thieves” in her man’s embrace. Battling depression, she desperately pursues virtues that will elevate her to a better place (“Full of Grace”).
McLachlan’s use of the f-word is inexcusable as she speaks of a theologically confused lover (a man decked out in rasta clothing who sleeps with voodoo dolls) on the song “Building a Mystery.” In addition, several lines weakened by vague contexts could be interpreted as anti-Christian.
Known for giving fans a window into her occasionally tortured soul, McLachlan says of her early work, “It was almost as if I needed to be depressed to be creative.” Not so here. The Canadian-born artist is generally upbeat. Even though most of these songs deal with unstable relationships, she manages to project a glass-is-half-full attitude. Unfortunately, a few caveats hold Surfacing under the threshold of acceptability.