On The Download: Sarah McLachlan & Christina Aguilera, Greatest Hits

Two of my favorite artists from the RCA Records group are back this fall with Greatest Hits collections, and along with their respective retrospectives, both of them are releasing new songs along with their compilations.

First up, is Sarah McLachlan, whose 16-track anthology, “Closer: The Best of Sarah McLachlan,” will be released on October 7.

Of course, Sarah’s name remains synonymous with the Lilith Fair concerts of the 90’s. Her haunting ethereal vocals & emo sound have served as an easy listening soundtrack for my generation (folks in their… ahem!… early 30’s).

Just last week, Sarah announced that she’s separating from her husband, Ashwin Sood (also, her drummer), and that her two new tracks, “U Want Me 2” and “Don’t Give Up on Us,” are reflections about this very personal experience.

Sarah told Billboard that “U Want Me 2” is, “about that really uncertain, confusing place at the end of a relationship when there’s no communication or closure, everything’s still up in the air and there’s a lot of anger and sadness. It’s sort of that working through ‘How do we move forward?’ — with some dignity and grace.”

And thus, is the essence of McLachlan – her incredible songwriting stems from her true artist’s heart. Five years after her last studio release of original material (2003’s “Afterglow”), I still have the hit single “Fallen” in heavy rotation on my iPod. It is, as are most of her songs, timeless.

Next up, comes Christina Aguilera’s “Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade of Hits,” which will be available for purchase on November 11, exclusively through Target.

The lead single, a brand new track, “Keeps Gettin’ Better,” is a hot club track – Christina giving us what she does best – wailing vocals and pop goodness. It’s also a female-power anthem for the post-Spice Girls generation.

“some days I’m a Super Bitch
up to my old tricks
but it won’t last forever
next day I’m your Super Girl
out to save the world
and it keeps gettin better”

We loves it!

Christina is also re-recording two of her biggest hits – “Genie in a Bottle” and “Beautiful” – so fans can look forward to, hopefully, some new arrangements on these classics.

It’s amazing to me to think that it’s been 10 years since I first started hearing “Genie” on MTV’s “Total Request Live” (which, perhaps not coincidentally, is going off the air in November). Christina helped launched a new generation of young musicians, who continue to make significant music contributions today. At the time, I remember thinking they were all (*NSync, Britney, Usher, etc), flashes in the pan. Wow, was I ever wrong!

Often, I’m cynical about Greatest Hits collections – especially for younger artists – I always feel like, “Come back when you have Tina Turner’s career – THEN, you can put out a Greatest Hits collection.”

These two, however, are going to be welcome additions to my library.

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