Melissa Etheridge: Melissa Etheridge



ON THIS DATE (24 YEARS AGO)

May 2, 1988 – Melissa Etheridge: Melissa Etheridge is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# allmusic 4.5/5
Melissa Etheridge is the self-titled debut album by Melissa Etheridge, released on this date in May, 1988.
Although Melissa Etheridge was immediately compared to Tracy Chapman when the two singer-songwriters released their self-titled debut albums in the same year, they in fact shared little other than gender. Kansas native Etheridge is a heartland rocker in the mold of Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, or Tom Petty, blessed with a powerfully soulful voice that compares favorably to both Janis Joplin and, in her quieter moments, Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies. On this album, Etheridge’s songwriting talents are perhaps not quite as consistent as they would soon become, but producer Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Warren Zevon, etc.) gives the album a clean, muscular, and guitar-oriented sound that seems much less dated than many other albums from the period, and with the startlingly passionate “Bring Me Some Water” alone, Etheridge made her first claim as one of the pre-eminent singer/songwriters of her time.
Q (2/04, p.114) – 4 stars out of 5 – “[S]he was blessed with an extraordinary capacity to sing convincingly….Quite rightly, ‘Bring Me Some Water’ made her an enormous star.”
REVIEW
by Vik Iyengar, allmusic
This was one of the most stunning debut albums of the 1980s. Given the domination of synthesizer pop on the radio, Melissa Etheridge was a breath of fresh air when she burst out of the gate with this roots rock album sung with a sensitive bravado often compared to Janis Joplin. Although the passionate vocal deliveries are similar, the comparisons end there: Etheridge is a Midwesterner who was clearly influenced by classic rock artists such as Bruce Springsteen and John Cougar Mellencamp. The main theme explored is the emotional complexity of relationships, and throughout the album she sings about the hunger for affection, the pain of unrequited love, and the fire of obsessive romance. While the limited scope of the songwriting requires the listener to enter her world and exorcise the demons of relationships past, the album is full of infectious, up-tempo songs that propel the album forward. Etheridge’s true talent, however, is reconciling uncontrollable emotions such as jealousy with a strong and fiercely independent spirit (“Similar Features,” “Like the Way I Do”). Perhaps that’s why Etheridge became a role model for a generation of young women who found her to be an uncompromising artist unafraid to expose (and celebrate) her strengths and weaknesses. This is a fine introduction to Melissa Etheridge, and it is one of her most enjoyable albums.
TRACKS:
All songs by Melissa Etheridge
“Similar Features” – 4:42
“Chrome Plated Heart” – 3:59
“Like the Way I Do” – 5:23
“Precious Pain” – 4:15
“Don’t You Need” – 4:59
“The Late September Dogs” – 6:33
“Occasionally” – 2:36
“Watching You” – 5:33
“Bring Me Some Water” – 3:52
“I Want You” – 4:07
Remastered Edition Bonus Disk
“Chrome Plated Heart” – 3:55
“Don’t You Need” – 4:54
“Similar Features” – 4:25
“Precious Pain” – 5:55
“Occasionally” – 3:11
“The Late September Dogs” – 6:34
“Watching You” – 5:57
“I Want You” – 5:26
“Bring Me Some Water” – 5:34
“Like The Way I Do” – 10:31
“Chrome Plated Heart” – 3:28
“Don’t You Need” – 4:22
“Similar Features” – 4:07
“Bring Me Some Water” – 3:37
“Precious Pain” – 3:52
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