brni (brni) wrote,


In 1993 Sarah McLachlan released Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, which is for me one of the notably brilliant albums of that decade. The song Possession is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I've heard, particularly in contrast with what the song is about; on the surface it is a romantic love song, but written from the perspective of a stalker's fantasies.

And I would be the one
To hold you down
Kiss you so hard
I’ll take your breath away
And after I’d wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes dear

In 1994, Uwe Vandrei, who had been obsessively writing McLachlan letters, sued her for songwriting credits, claiming that she had used the contents of his letters as the lyrics for the song. Later that year, he posted to some newsgroup that I was reading (I don't remember which) trying to explain himself, upset that he couldn't get her on the phone, no matter how many times he tried. In the post, he offered (essentially) to drop the lawsuit if only Sarah would meet with him, just once.

The lawsuit, I thought at the time, was dangerous to the entire concept of art. Artists, whether they are musicians, writers, painters, or whatever, take inspiration wherever they see it. They express the world through the filter that is themselves. If the artist is held responsible to the source of inspiration, we're looking at the death of art by judicial fiat. I considered sending Vandrei a note to that effect, asking that, regardless of his own feelings, he drop the lawsuit in the interest of Art, but then I heard the news that he'd committed suicide.

A video for Possession was released in Canada (and, I guess, the rest of the civilized world), which reflects the conflicts and tensions in and surrounding the song. It's up at:

Of course, this was too "controversial" for us USians, so we got this instead:
Tags: music
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