It's been three long years since Melissa Etheridge has released a CD. I think the last time she performed live on stage, was the Winter of 96'. That's too long. But I didn't really notice the time. Not really. I play her music so much... I always thought she was around. Apparently, she needed some "me" time…and good for her! She's come back from a much-needed rest, with one of her best CD's to date!
This month, I had the pleasure of reviewing the new CD by Melissa Etheridge, Breakdown enhanced CD, with three bonus tracks ("Touch And Go", "Cherry Avenue," and "Beloved"). You will also find the basic, enhanced CD "Breakdown" (Uni/Island: B00001WRO7) sans the bonus tracks for about two bucks cheaper. Spend the extra two bucks and get the bonus tracks. Amazon.com is listing this CD as a Limited Edition, so grab it while you can.
Before I launch into the music, I want to say a word about the enhanced CD bits. This CD has some of the best enhancements I've seen so far (with the exception of Bif Naked I Bificus i also reviewed this month). The enhancements start with the usual link to the website and such. But they also include a cool pre-video about "Angels Would Fall" (although you DON'T actually get to see the video… and the website's link to the video was down so I was a little bummed). Still, you get some excellent still photography and all the lyrics (and more). Check it out.
Now for the music. If you have ever written and or performed a song in your life, you know that some songs just BURST out of you. From the pit of your soul, you can not wait to sing the words, or slam the strings. I remember those days, although I can not imagine that feeling anymore (blame Corporate America). Almost every song on this CD came across that way (to me). Melissa just seemed ready to explode with energy. I've GOT to see her live. Even the subtle, quiet passages are sung with a hint of antisa-"Say it, Say it"-pation! (Rocky Horror Picture Show reference…some of you will get it.).
The CD opens with the titled, Breakdown. Very typical Melissa, that is to say, soulful and heartfelt. "Angels Would Fall"
is the CD's first single. I counted at least six more possible singles. Some
are about an impossible, unrequited romance. We have all experienced a few of those (I tell
you... if I weren't married, Denise Richards would be MINE! Mine I say!). Don't sweat
it... my wife never reads these reviews... I can say it... (i have
her fax number and am dialing it now --ed)
My favorite song on the CD, is by far, "Enough Of Me". I can't listen to this CD, without pausing to play this song again (and again, and again).
(O.K….Here it comes…ready?)
It makes you wonder, what relationship could possibly cause her that much pain….but what I like most about Melissa, is the fact, that her lyrics, can apply to almost anyone of us. Personally, I have felt that way in the past…so it strikes a cord with me. Slam!
"Mama I'm Strange" is something I'm sure my mother is waiting for me to confess one day, but in this case, it's a song of sexual preference realization (not for being weird... as in my case). "Scarecrow" is a haunting song about, and dedicated to, Matthew Shepard (He was beaten to death and left tied to a post for being Gay). If she does a video about this song…it should rip the guts out of anyone with a soul. Good (but sad) stuff.
This particular CD ends with the bonus track, "Beloved". "Beloved" is a quiet song about racial, and sexual intolerance, with Melissa and her beloved standing tall against the world (but with growing rage).
Melissa's music strikes a cord with me. She's gotten me through some tough times, and made me face my demons. I like that. Starin' down my demons. Some people don't care to go deep when listening to music. Some people just aren't that comfortable with what they might find. I am, so I visit quite often. It's an interesting trip. It breaks you down to your core.
On a cold winters day, put down your guard, grab a warm blanket (and a warmer friend), and
Breakdown with Melissa's new CD.