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Top 10 Best Sarah McLachlan Songs of All Time

Sarah McLachlan is a multi-platinum singer-songwriter whose deeply emotive sounds and powerful, relatable lyrics saw her begin her wonderful career at the age of 17. Her creative talents have spanned decades, and as a classically trained pianist, guitarist, and vocalist with a mezzo-soprano vocal range, she has captured the hearts of many.

Best Sarah McLachlan Songs of All Time

Born January 28th, 1968, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Sarah has been a big name in music for over 35 years. She is a multi-platinum award winner across a plethora of award ceremonies. With three Grammy’s and eight Juno Awards plus nominations, let’s now explore and enjoy the Best Sarah McLachlan Songs of All Time, starting with…

Top 10 Best Sarah McLachlan Songs of All Time


From her third studio album titled “Fumbling Towards Ecstacy,” which was released in October of 1993. “Fear” is quite different from Sarah’s usual style of songs and definitely gets a place on her Best Songs of All Time list.

With primal lyrics and a lot of reverb, the song sounds like it’s produced in a large empty hall. Sarah creates an unmistakable eerie element by singing in falsetto which is an unusual range for her. “Fear” is about love and the fear associated with taking the final leap completely into it. Such a great Sarah McLachlan song which sadly didn’t chart in the top 100; however it remains one of her loyal fan’s favorites.

World on Fire

The lyrics of “World on Fire” really hits home about life and humanity, the flip side of celebrity, and how the world is suffering because of it.

Sarah has such an amazing way with words and very eloquently raises these modern issues. Like how we would all benefit from being less self-absorbed and led by consumerism. And most importantly that we should try harder to take care of people less fortunate than ourselves.

In an interview, Sarah indicated that this song was written about the horrendous Sept 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in NYC and saw her go on to raise over $150,000 for various charities. “World on Fire” is a masterpiece from her 2003 album “Afterglow” and was released as a single in 2004. It won a Juno and was also featured on the hit TV show Will & Grace.

Sweet Surrender

Sweet Surrender” reached a peak of 28 on the US Billboards Top 100 in 1998 and came from her album from the previous year, “Surfacing.”

The lyrics lend the listener a sympathetic ear and allow for various interpretations with the basis of surrendering yourself completely, as to love, dreams, religion, suffering… Sarah has left that open for interpretation to her beloved fans. There was also a dance remix done by artist DJ Tiesto which hit No 6 on the US Dance Charts in 2000.

The Path of Thorns (Terms)

Released in 1991 from her second studio album, “Solace,” “The Path of Thorns (Terms)” was Sarah McLachlan’s first hit single in her home country Canada. Reaching 24 on the Canada Top Singles and 12 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary Charts, respectively.

Although it is one of her earlier creations, owing to the fact she was relatively unknown at the time should have been a massive hit worldwide. Devoted fans treasure this classic, and it remains one of the Best Sarah McLachlan Songs of All Time. It was also the 50 millionth purchased song on Apple iTunes on March 15th, 2004, proving how popular this song is 13 years after its release.


Fallen” is a highly emotive song with relatable lyrics that can be interpreted into many different situations, including lost love, addictions, and failing through obstacles in life.

From Sarah’s fifth studio album, “Afterglow,” it was released as a single in 2003. “Fallen” peaked No 3 on both US Adult Contemporary and US Dance Club Songs and 5th on the US Top 40.

A fun fact? “Fallen” was featured on three hugely popular TV shows of the ’00s – One Tree HillCold Case, and Charmed.


Adia” is a song that Sarah wrote about her inability to stop feeling responsible for everyone around her. She chose the name “Adia” as she loved how it sounded when she sang it.

The song is from her 1997 album “Surfacing” and is about her feelings of crossing the line and falling in love with her best friend’s ex-partner. The song expresses her pain and guilt with the whole situation as her best friend experienced a breakdown. Sarah went on to marry and have two children with the man in question, who was actually the drummer from her band.

It was her first top 5 single on the US charts, reaching No 3 and staying at positions 4 & 5 for a total of 14 weeks.


Released in September 1993, it was the first single from her album “Fumbling Towards Ecstacy.”

Sarah says that it was written after receiving many fan letters from men who were obsessed with and believed they were in a relationship with the star. There were a few who were borderline stalkers in their attempts to win her affections, and so this song was purposely devised with the viewpoint of a man who is obsessed with a woman.

She went on to say it was very therapeutic to write and perform this song as she had many an obsessed fan who, after the song was released, stopped sending these crazy letters, much to her relief. It didn’t do too well in the official charts; however, it reached No 4 on US Alternative Airplay. Interestingly “Possession” features twice on the same record, as song No 1 and also a secret hidden track at the end of the album.

I Will Remember You

Such a beautiful song and one of her best; it was written in 1995 for the movie “The Brothers McMullen.” With emotive lyrics and a very relatable topic, it’s a song about loss and love, regretting what you haven’t done more than what you have…

Often requested at funeral services and with such a strong vocal ‘I will remember you, will you remember me?’. Sarah has the unmistakable ability to put into words what so many people feel but are unable to express. “I Will Remember You” was released as a live version of her 1999 album “Mirrorball” and really gained popularity reaching the Top Ten in Canada and No 14 in the US.

This song has sold more than two million copies worldwide as of Feb 2000.

Building a Mystery

This song is also from her 1997 studio album “Surfacing” and is about the fact everyone has insecurities, and we all hide behind a facade. However, wouldn’t it be more beautiful if we could all just be our unique and attractive selves?

The song won ‘Best Female Pop Performace’ at the 40th Grammy awards in February 1998. It was the top single release in Canada for 1997, with eight consecutive weeks at the No 1 spot. “Building a Mystery” also won a Juno Award for ‘Single Of The Year’ the same year and debuted at 18 on the US Billboards Hottest 100, peaking at position 13 a month later.


This touching song was written about the unfortunate death of Smashing Pumpkin’s keyboardist Johnathan Melvion, who passed from a heroin overdose in 1996.

Another beautifully written song that deeply expresses heartache, sorrow, and pain is sometimes mistakenly titled ‘In the Arms of Angel’ or ‘Arms of the Angel.’ “Angel” is also featured in the 1998 movie ‘City of Angels’ starring Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage.

It was released as song No. 7 on her 1997 album “Surfacing” and also as a single in 1998, where it went on to spend 19 weeks on the Billboard charts Top 10. “Angel” was at 1st spot for seven weeks on the Adult Pop Airplay charts that same year and No 1 again for 12 weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart. It was also the 18th most popular song of 1999, which concludes why it is easily Sarah McLachlan’s Best Song of All Time!

Looking for more Superb Songs from your favorite Artists?

Then take a look at the Best Gloria Estefan Songs of All Time, the Best Mary J. Blige Songs of All-Time, the Best Cat Stevens Songs of All Time, the Best Fleetwood Mac Songs, as well as the Best Chicago Songs of All Time for more great song selections.

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Best Sarah McLachlan Songs of All Time – Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a countdown of the Best Songs by Sarah McLachlan. As of 2021, our beloved songstress has sold over 40 million records. Plus, she founded Lilith Fair, a traveling show with an all-female lineup of solo artists and bands fronted by women. Sarah’s vision was to promote women in the music industry; it ran from 1997 – 1999.

A mix of chart-toppers and fan favorites, these Top 10 Sarah McLachlan songs really show us why she is one of the most popular singers to come out of Canada. With her introspective lyrics and authentically unique sound, it’s easy to see why Sarah McLachlan remains one of our favorite musicians.

Happy listening!

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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