I missed Canada Day on Tuesday (it’s July 1)! But I believe I did post a Canadian singer then: the incomparable Sarah McLachlan. Apologies to my friends up north, even if they do install the toilet paper backwards.
To make reparations, I’m posting another great song by McLachlan: the famous “Angel,” recorded in 1997 and performed below in her home studio with just voice and piano. Clearly she didn’t need much else, for this is a superb and intimate performance.
The song is clearly about drug addiction, but the Wikpedia article gives a bit more information:
As McLachlan explained on VH1 Storytellers, the song is about the Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996.
. . . “Angel” was one of the first songs written for Surfacing. McLachlan said that writing it was easy, “a real joyous occasion.” It was inspired by articles that she read in Rolling Stone about musicians turning to heroin to cope with the pressures of the music industry and subsequently overdosing. She said that she identified with the feelings that might lead someone to use heroin: “I’ve been in that place where you’ve messed up and you’re so lost that you don’t know who you are anymore, and you’re miserable—and here’s this escape route. I’ve never done heroin, but I’ve done plenty of other things to escape.” She said that the song is about “trying not to take responsibility for other people’s problems and trying to love yourself at the same time”.