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5.0 out of 5 stars The Freedom Sessions
Typical Sarah Mclachlan-perfect in every way, size, shape, and form. Nothing could have been better. It's a lovely movement from Fumbling (Though FTE was gorgeous) and all the songs have a different edge. As always, 5/5, 5/5, 5/5...and so on.
Elsewhere: My first impression was the funky version of both Sarah and Elsewhere, if you can picture that. Really different...
Published on May 10 2004

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Original direction of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
I'm not actually sure why people consider this as one of Sarah McLachlan's released Albums. I actually see this CD as rather like a b-side thing, a bonus compilation of some sort because each track on this CD is from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Each song, though, is different from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy such as instrumentation as well as some shifts from the melodic...
Published on Dec 17 2003 by S. Bi


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5.0 out of 5 stars The Freedom Sessions, May 10 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
Typical Sarah Mclachlan-perfect in every way, size, shape, and form. Nothing could have been better. It's a lovely movement from Fumbling (Though FTE was gorgeous) and all the songs have a different edge. As always, 5/5, 5/5, 5/5...and so on.
Elsewhere: My first impression was the funky version of both Sarah and Elsewhere, if you can picture that. Really different from the first, but totally and awesomely cool. "I believe this is heaven to no one else but me."
Plenty: Overlapped voices in the background give this Plenty a sort of freaky sound. Not many instruments, but the voices provide the base really well. "I looked into your eyes, they told me plenty I already knew."
Mary: The piano is a lot more in depth on this version. It's so soulful I was in tears by the end. So moving. "Take her hand, she will lead you through the fire. Oh, and give you back hope, and hope that you don't take too much."
Good Enough: Sarah's voice in this is at some of its best. Quiet, yet strong. This song pulls you in and won't let you out. "It's not the wind that cracked your shoulder and threw you to the ground."
Hold On: Gorgeous and intense as always, with an added part at the end. "Now you're sleeping peaceful, I lie awake and pray that you'll be strong tomorrow..."
Ice Cream: Even more fun than normal. Sarah comments that she tried to make this more like her live performances. It makes you want to dance. "Your love is better than ice cream..."
Ice: This is the hard rock version of Ice. Really nice and intense. Ice takes on a whole new meaning after hearing this. "I don't like your tragic sighs, as if your god has passed you by."
Ol'55: A sit back and relax song that appeals to the memory. Sarah does this so well. "Well the sun's comin' up." It has a hidden version of Hold On which tends more towards groove. "... and love the light that brings a smile across your face."
Thank you, Sarah, for creating a CD that, as always, I can't seem to stop listening to.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Sarah Oddity, April 3 2004
By 
Alan Caylow (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
Sarah McLachlan's "Freedom Sessions" EP from 1995 is a bit of an oddity: seven acoustic versions of songs from Sarah's masterpiece, "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy," plus a cover of the old Tom Waits chestnut, "Ol' 55." Plus, as an added bonus, "The Freedom Sessions" can also be popped into your computer for some extra Sarah goodies (and if I'm not mistaken, this was the very first "Enhanced" CD ever released, so congratulations to Sarah for being the first!). Like her import release from 1996, "Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff," this Sarah CD is for diehards only, but it is a wonderful disc, with Sarah and her band putting a softer, live-in-the-studio spin on such "Fumbling" favorites as "Elsewhere," "Plenty," "Mary," "Good Enough," & "Hold On" that are all very enjoyable. The cover of "Ol' 55" is great fun, and the multimedia portion for your computer is excellent. It's always a pleasure to get any new release from Sarah McLachlan, whether it's a "proper" studio album, or an extra goodie like "The Freedom Sessions." Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SML Newbie, Feb. 17 2004
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
This was the first Sarah McLachlan CD I bought (blind), based on a recommendation from a friend. The first time I heard her was the song in Toy Story 2 which I thought was pretty amazing for a cartoon animation movie!
So far I've also bought 'Surfacing', 'Afterglow' & 'Fumbling...' I much prefer Freedom Sessions as it has that raw feel/emotion to it compared with 'Fumbling...' I like all of the songs. The only annoyance is the first PC track, annoying because I have to remember to skip it unless I want to be greeted with noise!
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Original direction of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Dec 17 2003
By 
S. Bi "mr-independent" (San Jose(Davis) , Ca United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
I'm not actually sure why people consider this as one of Sarah McLachlan's released Albums. I actually see this CD as rather like a b-side thing, a bonus compilation of some sort because each track on this CD is from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Each song, though, is different from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy such as instrumentation as well as some shifts from the melodic structure of the songs.
1. CD-ROM Multimedia Presentation.
2. Elsewhere: this song is driven by the bass, drum, and guitar, and light piano. This piece sounds very "bluesy". The melodic structures of the verses have changed a bit, while the chorus does sound like the original track.
2/5
3. Plenty: the piece consists of very little instrumentation at all. There is some screeching sounds in the background, which is annoying. As the song progresses, about 2 minutes in, there is dramatic drumming that is introduced as well as the keyboard, although very gentle. This song focuses is rather around vocals. The melodic structure of the song is rather the same as Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. This piece is quite haunting.
3/5
4. Mary: this song is driven by the guitar as well as the piano. The song is sung rather with much more dramatic pose. The drum machine sound from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy is gone and makes this piece much more intimate. In my opinion, this song is much better than Mary that could be found in Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Sarah's vocals are demonstrated in this song.
5/5
5. Good Enough: this song starts off with organs that sounds very much like a Psalmody, church music. Later on the piano is introduced. The melodic structure of the song is kept from the original. This piece though seems very boring.
2/5
6. Hold On: The song as a very long piano introduction, as well as centering around the piano. This song is much more softer than the original piece. No longer emotionally driven by drum beats and the guitar, the vocals of Sarah takes the place of all of them. Her voice is very clear and emotional in this particular piece. My opinion, this piece is much better than the original. Hold On from this track is much more intimate.
5/5
7. Ice Cream: this version is quite similar to Ice Cream from Mirrorball. Ice Cream is recorded as to how Sarah would perform it live. This song is driven by the bass and guitar. Background vocals do a great job complimenting Sarah quite well, which is accompanied by Ashwin.
4/5
8. Ice: this song is driven the bass and electric guitar, as well as percussions. The vocals are diminished as they are overpowered by the instruments within this piece. There is very much less dramatic pose than the original. The melodic structure of the piece is kept from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.
3/5
9. Ol'55: the only cover song on this CD, which was originally written by Tom Waits. This song sounds very country-ish. This piece sounds quite different with what Sarah would write or sing. This piece does show another side of McLachlan, but not something I would like to listen to.
2/5
This CD, I would recommend to Sarah McLachlan fans who have developed a liking to Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and want to hear a different side to some of the songs from Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. They are quite different, some of which are good and some of which one would be happy that they weren't released in Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. If you are a new fan to Sarah McLachlan, I would recommend Sarah's other CD: Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Surfacing, or even Afterglow. This CD just shows another side of Sarah and basically the original structures of the song. In the cover sleeve, Sarah writes:
"Most of the songs on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy began as acoustic pieces. Early in the recording process we thought about putting out two records: one record of the original acoustic songs and another with more produced and/or layered songs. In time, one version usually presented itself to be the stronger or just more interesting in its instrumentation and direction, whatever felt right at the time.
I love Fumbling Towards Ecstasy recording and wouldn't change a thing, but I love these versions as reminders of where the songs started and of the various paths we wandered down to discover their identities. It was a joy watching them grow."
Truly in contrast to Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, each piece did develop and grow into much more beautiful music, except for Mary, which I would have preferred have been on the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy released. Overall, this CD is okay, only if you are a fan of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and want to explore in their original paths.
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5.0 out of 5 stars terrible, Nov. 7 2003
By 
"vassiliv2002" (LONG ISLAND CITY, NEW YORK United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
common tell me the truth if you hear this in todays world you
do not have that patients to sit and listen to it all I got
to say 2004.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this album for one song..., Aug. 12 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
A completely new rendition of "Hold On" that is worth buying this CD for. Trust me. I didn't like the song HOld on, but this interpretation of it is my favorite S.M. song ever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than "Fumbling", Sept. 23 2002
By 
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
I have long thought that Sarah's best work was done live. In the studio, her voice is smooth as silk, but rather dull. Live (or, here, acoustic) she is PHENOMENAL. Her voice has a raw edge and a little bit of a snarl to it, which is why songs like "Possession" and "Good Enough" are soooo much better on Mirrorball.
The tracks that stood out to me here were "Ice" and "Plenty"; however, there isn't a single track here that isn't wonderful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Fumbling..., May 8 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
For anyone who loves McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, this album is not an option but a NECESSITY. Though the hard-core fan might quibble with some of the choices of songs (what, no "Possession"?!? No "Fear"?!?) this CD is truly a delight. It's fascinating to see how these songs grew, from the rough, folksy incarnations presented here, to the more polished pieces heard on FTE. Stand-out tracks include the laid-back, sensuous "Elsewhere," the compelling "Ice" and the always lovable "Ice Cream." The mutlimedia stuff which comes along with the CD is fun, too - you get to see clips from McLachlan's videos, and to hear her thoughts about her band, her experiences touring, and her songs. For anyone who loves McLachlan's work - especially on FTE - this album is a must.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How it should have been done the first time..., April 12 2002
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
These looser versions of the songs of "Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" show the artist's true song-writing and performing talents... (as opposed to her later commercialized work.)
This album reveals all of the songs stripped down to an acoustic guitar, a piano, and vocals - a beautiful revelation. The result is much jazzier, more raw versions of the song.
My favorite track on this is "Elsewhere," which has a really deep bass line and ... well, just rocks.
This album is really how "Ecstacy" should have been released in the first place, without all the studio drama... but having them both to compare, just makes this one seem even better.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nobody bothered with take two, April 1 2002
This review is from: Freedom Sessions (Audio CD)
I never review albums but this one inspired me to do so.
First of all, Sarah's voice will carry most efforts by itself, regardless of how poorly coordinated or haphazard the efforts by the supporting musicians. That said, Freedom Sessions both delivers and drowns based on its spontaneity. I came away with the impression that all of the musicians had just met and started playing Fumbling hits, keeping the good ones as well as the bad ones and shying away from artistically limiting notions like editing or discretion. I imagine this album is a good representative of how Sarah sounds when she is fiddling around with a couple of her friends, no real pressure, "Dude, we should record this" sort of evening.
As a result, the album is spectacularly hit or miss. As others have remarked, there are versions of Hold On and Good Enough that are downright shivery. She plays to the more dramatic aspects of her singing style and is not afraid to take chances. This pays off on at least a few tracks. The Ol' 55 cover is unexpected, but good. Ice Cream is still good, but not any different from Fumbling.
However, on a few songs (Elsewhere in particular) the musicians sound like they have never played the song before. The background singer on Elsewhere seems out of place, whenever she sings there's a marked tempo shift. The guitar gradually gains confidence over the course of the song but largely repeats the same scale over and over the way you do in a jam session when you aren't entirely sure what will happen next, and Sarah actually loses the percussion a few times. The effect is raw to the point of being jagged.
Plus, none of the supporting musicians seem to be that good or clear on what they are there to do. Ice in particular takes a beautiful and delicate song and smothers it in unimaginatively played, distortion heavy electric guitar.
Sarah fanatics will like this CD because they would like anything she produces. Those of us that find Sarah McLachlan to be pleasant but not iconic might want to stick to the more polished material. This is a CD aimed at a niche audience. You know who you are.
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Freedom Sessions
Freedom Sessions by Sarah Mclachlan (Audio CD - 1996)
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