There are many beautiful songs out there, and this is one of my favorites at the moment.
McLachlan wrote it after hearing that Jonathan Melvoin, the keyboardist for the Smashing Pumpkins died after a heroin overdose in 1996.
“I wrote “Angel” after being on the road for almost two years straight and was both mentally and physically drained,” McLachlan wrote. “I went to a cottage north of Montreal to relax and write and read an article in Rolling Stone about the Smashing Pumpkins keyboard player who had OD’ed in a hotel room.”
She continued, “the story shook me because though I have never done hard drugs like that, I felt a flood of empathy for him and that feeling of being lost an lonely an desperately searching for some kind of release.”
The song has had enduring popularity and has been used in a number of different ways, with some uses (such as in a child memorial) misconstruing the lyrics. McLachan said during a Reddit AMA that she doesn’t mind that it gets used in so many different ways. “I think once an artist puts a song out there, it becomes open to interpretation, and I purposefully leave a certain amount of ambiguity in songs so that people can relate the songs to themselves and to their stories,” she said.
“And for me, it’s a great validation as an artist to know that something I’ve created has gone out there in the world and helped people to heal, or to feel something, in a profound way like that.”
For me, the song is about safety when everything feels like it`s falling apart. A symbol that at our darkest moments, there is someone who wants to protect us.