This article's lead section may be too long for the length of the article. (September 2017)
|"Building a Mystery"|
|Single by Sarah McLachlan|
|from the album Surfacing|
|Released||19 August 1997|
|Sarah McLachlan, Pierre Marchand|
|Sarah McLachlan singles chronology|
"Building a Mystery" is a song by Sarah McLachlan, from her multi-platinum album Surfacing, first released in 1997. At a live performance, Sarah explains the song as being "basically about the fact that we all... have insecurities to hide, and we often do that by putting on a facade." She also goes on to say that "unfortunately, if we just be who we are, that's usually the more attractive and beautiful thing".
A fan favourite, the song was an immediate Top-40, Soft AC, and Hot AC hit which paved the grounds for her future songs "Sweet Surrender", "Adia", and "Angel", all from the Surfacing album. "Building a Mystery" debuted at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early September 1997, and peaked at number 13 a month later.
The album version of "Building a Mystery," and the live albums "Afterglow Live" and "Mirrorball" contain the line, "A beautiful fucked-up man." The radio version replaces this line with "A beautiful but strange man" or the original lyric garbled beyond recognition, and during performances on radio or television, Sarah sings the line "A beautiful messed-up man."
The video features a man, described as McLachlan's boyfriend, taking points of light from wherever he travels and stitching some sort of garment. When McLachlan investigates in his absence, she finds that he has been assembling a skirt so decorated as to be lit with stars. Mark Seliger and Fred Woodward jointly directed the video, but both later disowned it with the Allen Smithee credit.
The song was her biggest chart hit in Canada, spending eight weeks at #1 on the RPM charts and ranking as the #1 single of the year in the magazine's year end chart. It won the Juno Award for Single of the Year in 1998.
It was #91 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 1990s.