Afterglow (Sarah McLachlan album)

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Studio album by Sarah McLachlan
Released 4 November 2003
Recorded 2002-2003
Genre Pop
Length 40:11
Label Nettwerk (Canada)
Arista (US)
Producer Pierre Marchand
Sarah McLachlan chronology
Singles from Afterglow
  1. "Fallen"
    Released: September 22, 2003
  2. "Stupid"
    Released: May 31, 2004
  3. "World On Fire"
    Released: June 14, 2004
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Blender 3/5 stars[2]
E! Online B−[3]
Entertainment Weekly B−[4]
Mojo 1/5 stars[5]
Q Magazine 3/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[7]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars [8]
Stylus Magazine (F)[9]

Afterglow is the fifth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan. Released on November 4, 2003 on Nettwerk in Canada and November 4, 2003 on Arista Records in the United States, it was her first album of new material in six years, after the success of Surfacing and the Lilith Fair festival. Following those successes, McLachlan took a few years furlough to start a family with her then-husband and drummer, Ashwin Sood. Their daughter, India Ann Sushill Sood, was born in 2002.

She also did a lot of work with the Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach program, funding music lessons for disadvantaged children.

Unlike past albums where she went to an isolated cottage to write the songs, she wrote the songs for Afterglow in her family home mainly before the birth of her child. She wrote the songs entirely on piano, which is also a departure from her previous albums which she wrote on guitar. Longtime collaborator Pierre Marchand produced the album. McLachlan wrote eight of the 10 songs herself and co-wrote the other two with Marchand.

The song "Answer" was featured in the 2007 movie The Brave One, starring Jodie Foster. It has also been used in television commercials for the ASPCA, with McLachlan herself appearing in person.

Chart success and award nominations[edit]

Afterglow was released on November 4, 2003 and was a success in North America, reaching number two on the Billboard 200, selling 361,000 copies in its first week of release and number one on the Canadian charts.[10] It reached #33 in the UK (McLachlan's biggest success there thus far) and the top 50 in Australia in 2004. The first single, "Fallen", reached the top ten on the Adult Top 40 Billboard charts and a remix reached top ten in the United States dance charts. A second single, "Stupid" was released in March 2004.

McLachlan was nominated in five Juno Award categories in Canada, including Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year for Afterglow, and Songwriter of the Year for the songs on the album. The awards were announced on April 4, 2004. The album was also nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Vocal Album field in 2005.

Although not as successful as Surfacing, Afterglow sold over 2,500,000 units in the U.S. and went two times platinum. Worldwide, the album has sold more than five million copies, mainly in United States, Canada and United Kingdom.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Fallen"   Sarah McLachlan 3:47
2. "World on Fire"   McLachlan, Pierre Marchand 4:22
3. "Stupid"   McLachlan 3:24
4. "Drifting"   McLachlan 3:23
5. "Train Wreck"   McLachlan 4:36
6. "Push"   McLachlan 3:56
7. "Answer"   McLachlan 3:58
8. "Time"   McLachlan 4:07
9. "Perfect Girl"   McLachlan, Marchand 4:43
10. "Dirty Little Secret"   McLachlan 3:55


  • Sarah McLachlan: Vocals, Electric Guitar, Piano, Rhodes Piano, Keyboards
  • Pierre Marchand: Guitar, Bass, Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizer Bass
  • Bill Dillon: Guitar, Guitorgan, Church Organ
  • Michael Chaves: Guitar
  • Michel Pepin: Guitar
  • Sean Ashby: Guitar
  • Yves Desrosiers: Guitar
  • Mark Jowett: Guitar
  • Ethan Johns: Guitar
  • Tony Levin: Bass
  • Daryl Johnson: Bass
  • Jim Creeggan: Acoustic Bass
  • David Kershaw: Hammond Organ
  • Jorane: Cello, Background Vocals, Vocal Treatments
  • Ashwin Sood: Drums, Percussion, Loops, Keyboard Bass
  • Jerry Marotta: Percussion


  • Produced by Pierre Marchand
  • Engineered & Mixed by Pierre Marchand & Chris Potter
  • Additional Recordings Engineered by Roman Klun, John Oliviera, Linda Strawberry, Yanick Daunais, Brian Hogue & Pete Caigan
  • Mastered by Bob Ludwig
  • All Songs Published by Sony/ATV Songs LLC & Tyde Music, except "World on Fire" & "Perfect Girl" (Sony/ATV Songs LLC & Tyde Music, Studio Nomade Music).

Album charts[edit]

Chart Peak
Certification Sales/shipments
Australian Albums Chart[11] 22 Gold 35,000[12]
Austrian Albums Chart[13] 72
Belgian Flanders Albums Chart[14] 18
Belgian Wallonia Albums Chart[15] 23
Canadian Albums Chart[16] 1 5x platinum 500,000[17]
Danish Albums Chart[18] 33
Dutch Albums Chart[19] 23
French Albums Chart[20] 65
German Albums Chart[21] 56
New Zealand Albums Chart[22] 30
Norwegian Albums Chart[23] 14
Swedish Albums Chart[24] 20
Swiss Albums Chart[25] 19
UK Albums Chart[26] 33 Gold 100,000[27]
U.S. Billboard 200[28] 2 2x platinum 2,500,000[29]