Nova Scotia-born singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan was only 20 years old when Touch was released in 1988. This is an impressive first effort, though maybe too earnest in its attempt to break new ground in otherwise familia... more »r terrain of late-'80s synthesized textures. Yet McLachlan's pristine vocals and intricate guitar work yield several memorable tracks, including the opening "Out of the Shadows," the popular "Vox" (which also appears in a tripped-out--verging on hokey--remixed version at the end), and the enchanting "Strange World." Her youthful romanticism is perhaps captured best in "Trust" ("Somewhere deep inside me I hold a picture / Of a time long gone--a time of ease and / Simple pleasures..."), a catchy tune that is embellished with male vocals, sparkling keyboards, bongos, and distant electric-guitar licks. Later tracks become more endearing with each listen but in certain moods can be nauseatingly dreamy and vaporous. Nevertheless, this disc endures as a fine remembrance of the early days, when McLachlan was a fresh-eyed mystic songbird whose passions were not yet realized on an international scale. --Rebecca Robinson« less
Nova Scotia-born singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan was only 20 years old when Touch was released in 1988. This is an impressive first effort, though maybe too earnest in its attempt to break new ground in otherwise familiar terrain of late-'80s synthesized textures. Yet McLachlan's pristine vocals and intricate guitar work yield several memorable tracks, including the opening "Out of the Shadows," the popular "Vox" (which also appears in a tripped-out--verging on hokey--remixed version at the end), and the enchanting "Strange World." Her youthful romanticism is perhaps captured best in "Trust" ("Somewhere deep inside me I hold a picture / Of a time long gone--a time of ease and / Simple pleasures..."), a catchy tune that is embellished with male vocals, sparkling keyboards, bongos, and distant electric-guitar licks. Later tracks become more endearing with each listen but in certain moods can be nauseatingly dreamy and vaporous. Nevertheless, this disc endures as a fine remembrance of the early days, when McLachlan was a fresh-eyed mystic songbird whose passions were not yet realized on an international scale. --Rebecca Robinson
Sheri P. (cristalrose57) from GRANTS PASS, OR Reviewed on 8/31/2006...
Beautiful Music from Sarah, as always
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The ethereal sound sound of Sarah McLachlan's debut album
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sarah McLachlan's debut album, the 1989 release "Touch," confirms my working hypothesis that the best artists do not make a giant splash with a debut album who critical and popular success is never again equalled, but instead offer up a first album that showcases a distinctive sound and evidences musical talent. McLachlan was only 19 when the album was recorded, yet she was already showing a sense of maturity well beyond the current crop of singing Lolitas that are strutting themselves in music vidoes. If you had to hang on label on McLachlan at this point in her career it would be a young Kate Bush (a reference that is hopefully not lost on everybody). In addition to writing and singing the songs, McLachlan plays several types of guitars, piano and keyboards, and also does teh cover design and photo tinting. However, her producer at this point is Greg Reely and not Pierre Marchand, which probably is why this album does not sound like the McLachlan from the rest of her albums, with Reely overlaying her vocals with lots of lush keyboards. This is why the piano ballad "Ben's Song" stands out so much on this album; its simplicitly is in stark contrast to the rest of the tracks.
McLachlan's music is ahead of her vocals at this point. "Vox" and "Steaming" offer up some beautiful melodies (and I like "Sad Clown") but the singing is more of an additional instrument; this is not the sultry vocalist that we know today. Here you are impressed by her vocal range, rather than what she is actually doing with her voice. Two years later McLachlan took a quantum leap forward with "Solace," which evinced much stronger songwriting and was the foundation for McLachlan's initial pre-Lilith Fair cult following. Her debut album is not the first album most of McLachlan's fans are going to pick up, but when they get around to checking it out they are going to find it an interesting look backwards at the first efforts of a young singer, fumbling towards finding her sound."
Early Signs Of The Beauty To Come
Busy Body | London, England | 01/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My encounter with Sarah McLachlan came in the summer of 2004. I'd heard her music before but didn't really think of listening to any of her music, until I watched the final episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Season 2, "Becoming Part 2." The overwhelming emotion of that episode combined with Sarah's "Full Of Grace" made me buy two of her albums, "Solace" and "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy." I was so glad I did because those are both two amazing, beautiful recordings. For Christmas I also got "Touch," "Surfacing" and "Afterglow." Whilst I regard the latter two to be the best, "Touch" is also a noteworthy debut and should not be dismissed as it is by some fans.
Released in 1989, Touch was a relatively obscure debut from the talented McLachlan. She wasn't a well known singer and this album didn't exactly set the charts alight, but the promise was there. This album, more than anything, showcases a blossoming talent that was in the early stages of blooming - a blossom that wouldn't be fully realised until two albums later. Solace was a big step forward from this debut, which she took further and finally blossomed on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. It's interesting, however, to see the development of her confidence in her music from such an early stage.
The album opens with the beautiful "Out Of The Shadows." This song has soft percussion and gentle, swaying vocals from Sarah. The way she sings the lyrics is very memorable and a great way to open the album. I am also very fond of the long, mournful wails in the background that seem to echo over the hills. A very beautiful and atmospheric composition. "Vox" is an amazing song and definitely one of my favourite Sarah McLachlan songs ever! It's just a fun, upbeat pop number with a very cheerful chorus and a beautiful section where Sarah wails with her excellent voice which seems capable of anything. "Strange World" is a rather strange song where Sarah is joined by a male vocalist. Together they sing of this strange world which creates an ominous feeling of something yet to come. "Trust" opens beautifully before breaking out with a slamming drum break. The guitars are in full effect here, and whilst it's hardly a heavy metal song it's rather more rocky than anything else on the album. The chorus changes this, however, as the piano lightens things up.
"Touch" reminds me a bit of an Enya song because there's not much actual singing in this song, but more wailing and Operatic-vocals. It's not really one of my favourite songs, so it's a good thing when the next song starts. "Steaming" has a very strong beat to it, with some very memorable lyrics in its chorus, "All the way my love. Over the hills I'll ride on through you." It's not the actual lyrics, but the way in which they are arranged, which creates a very sweet melody. Overall, this is one of the album's best songs. "Sad Clown" is another one of my favourites, yet the focus is more on the music rather than Sarah's voice. The intro is rather dramatic with a little bit of everything and some subdued strings adding a great atmosphere to the song. "Uphill Battle" is a good song but not one of the best on the album. It creates a feeling of loneliness and sadness whenever I listen to it. Again, there's no singing here, but it is a nice instrumental piece. Some might see it as a pointless waste of album time at nearly 5 minutes long, but I actually regard it as a strong piece on the album. "Ben's Song" is the last song on the album and is so strong because it is the only true ballad. All the other songs border on mid-tempo, 'safe' pop songs, but this is truly something different. "Vox (Extended)" is a bit of a disappointment in my opinion. I don't think there was anything wrong with the original and this version is pretty rubbish. Also, it's nearly seven minutes long which I think is too long!
OVERALL GRADE: 7/10
I experience a similar feeling whenever I listen to a Sarah McLachlan album: a feeling of pure beauty and content. It doesn't matter which album it is, because her voice is so versatile. She can sing anything (as witnessed by the 2000's UK dance smash hit "Silence" by Delerium which she sung the vocals for) and this album shows a natural early start to a beautiful music career that would blossom and still hold up even 15 years after its release. The woman has longevity and will be going strong for years to come."
Best album she ever recorded
J. Meadors | Salt Lake City, UT | 01/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was prompted to write this review after reading through some of the existing reviews from people who were introduced relatively recently to Sarah's work and were "disappointed" with this album when they worked their way back to it through her catalogue of work. Ironically, I feel the exact opposite. Touch was the very 1st Sarah album that I bought--back in 1990--after hearing the remix of Vox on several club tapes that a d.j. friend from Houston sent me while I was away at college. I became an immediate fan and continued to buy her new albums as they were released. However, each successive album became more and more "pop" oriented and less and less unique and individually beautiful--like Touch is. Sadly, this is true of a lot of talented artists--like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, etc. Record companies can't afford misses from their stars so they bring in all the same big named writers and producers and ultimately end up with a homogonous, watered-down product that the masses have proven, time and time again, that they will buy.Touch has none of that adulteration. It's clean, simple, pure, and sometimes raw. But that's the beauty of it. It's creativity in a much purer form than her later albums. Songs like Steaming, Uphill Battle, and Ben's Song possess a power and purity lacking in her more recent efforts--all of which I own and enjoy from time to time. The album is dusky, sultry, and meant to be played after dark. It's moody and yearns for candlelight and musky scents. It's great mood music for a rendezvous or to unwind with a good glass of wine and a comfy couch."
Nice melodies but lyrics need work
J. Meadors | 07/05/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this CD after "Surfacing", "FTE" and "Solace" so you can understand that "Touch", in my opinion, doesn't have the same calibre as her later works. But this is Sarah's debut CD and considering that she had never written a full song before in her life, "Touch" is certainly a good effort.The sounds of "Touch" are very Celtic-inspired but also somewhat outdated because this is a 1988 release. However, Sarah's strengths are always in the melodies of her songs and of course, her voice. The lyrics, on the other hand..well I don't understand what she's saying. There are lots of pretty words but with no real meaning and they don't contribute to the song as a whole. I'm no expert in songwriting but I know that I, as a listener, can't relate to anything that's written in "Touch".Despite the lyrics, I really like the melodies of "Out of the Shadows", "Vox", "Steaming", "Uphill Battle" and the utterly haunting "Ben's Song". "Touch" is for Sarah die-hards and for those who are interested in her early beginnings."
A Must Have...
Jen | San Francisco,Ca. | 10/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Iv'e read the reviews here for this album.Somehow I don't hear the 80's thing at all.Personally,I also wouldn't call this an "inmature" effort by any means.For being just 20,Sarah is lyrically and musically brilliant on her work...I would say a very mature effort. The only thing I feel this album is lacking is the top 40,every hour on the hour radio playlist appeal(which in my opinion,is a wonderful thing).The songs are soft and moving.I don't just hear these songs,I feel them...every note and lyric.She's come a long way in popularity since this album,but still performs some of these songs during her shows.They are part of her growing experience as a truly unique songwriter and musician, and should be experienced by anybody who "feels" when they listen to her.This album may fall short as a big money making effort,but these songs are the groundwork of who she is today. Just listen to "Out of The Shadows" and "Steaming" and tell me you wouldn't be proud to call this your earliest work. I know I would. ~Peace~"