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Album Review

Melissa Etheridge wasn't out of the closet when she released Yes I Am in 1993, yet it's hard not to notice the defiant acclamation in the album's title. This barely concealed sense of sexual identity seeps out from the lyrics, and it informs the music as well, which is perhaps the most confident she has ever been. It's also the most professional she's ever been (perhaps not a coincidence), as she belts out these unapologetically anthemic numbers with a sense of finesse that's suited to lifestyle newspaper pages, not rock & roll, thereby setting herself up for her bout with celebrity during the second half of the '90s. Yes I Am wouldn't have been as convincing if it wasn't so slick, though; her Springsteen-isms and Janis tributes are tempered by songs that work as album rock favorites, even if they aren't as epic or passionate as their inspirations. She may not have songs as great as she did the first time out — "Somebody Bring Me Some Water" remains her finest moment — but she has a sense of purpose and identity that suits her well. And that identity wound up being the touchstone for the rest of her career.

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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