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Melissa Etheridge (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

The deluxe edition of Melissa Etheridge's landmark 1988 self-titled debut features the original album completely remastered and includes a second disc with live material from that same year — a triumphant ten-song homecoming set at L.A.'s Roxy, and five acoustic performances. Expanded liner notes chronicle the Los Angeles music community's reaction to Etheridge upon first encountering her in an opening slot for Lyle Lovett; Etheridge herself describes how her debut came to be fully recorded twice, and the emotions she felt as the record broke nationwide and made her a star. Musically, the album has never sounded better. In the saccharine world of late-'80s radio pop, Etheridge's throaty, passionate vocals and boisterous, blues-based sound was immediately affecting. Here, it proves to be no less potent. The pleading, seething outro to "Like the Way I Do" burns with the same fuel Alanis Morissette would later put into "You Oughta Know," while the unstoppable force-single "Bring Me Some Water" still sounds as incredible as it did when it first took radio programmers by storm. The live material also shines, although the keyboards are a bit too prominent, and end up dating the sound a bit (particularly on "Similar Features"). Fans will love all the good-natured stage chatter though, especially Etheridge's Storytellers-style explanation behind "Occasionally," which she then performs on the back of her Ovation 12-string. Acoustic versions of favorites like "Chrome Plated Heart" and "Similar Features" show Etheridge to be as talented a guitar player as she is a powerful, passionate singer. Highly recommended for any Etheridge believer.

Biography

Born: 29 May 1961 in Leavenworth, KS

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Melissa Etheridge became one of the most popular recording artists of the '90s due to her mixture of confessional lyrics, pop-based folk-rock, and raspy, Janis Joplin/Rod Stewart-esque vocals. But the road to stardom was not all smooth sailing for Etheridge as she debated behind the scenes whether or not to disclose to the public that she was gay early on in her career. Born May 29, 1961, in Leavenworth, Kansas, Etheridge first picked up the guitar at the age of eight and began penning her own songs...
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