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Goodbye Youth

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Album Review

Calling an album Goodbye Youth is something that many artists would have been afraid to do. After all, parts of the music industry can be incredibly youth-obsessed, inspiring a lot of singers to avoid drawing attention to the aging process in any way. But then, Melissa Ferrick wasn't exactly a geriatric when Goodbye Youth came out in September 2008; born in 1970, she turned 38 that month. So that title ends up seeming ironic, although Ferrick certainly doesn't sound inexperienced on this adult alternative effort. In 2008, she had been a recording artist for 15 years and had a wealth of emotional experience to draw on; that experience serves Ferrick well on Goodbye Youth, which finds the singer/songwriter accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. Drums and bass are nowhere to be found here; it's just Ferrick and her acoustic guitar. Of course, the solo acoustic format can be either advantageous or disadvantageous for singers. Being in such an intimate environment gives the artist no hiding room and can easily amplify one's weaknesses or shortcomings. But in Ferrick's case, no hiding room is needed — and she really shines on introspective originals such as "Bad Habit," "Real," "Getting Over You," and "Hypocrite" as well as on an unlikely cover of Bush's "Glycerine" (which lends itself surprisingly well to an adult alternative makeover). Much has been written about the fact that Ferrick is openly gay and has embraced lesbian themes on some of her material, but that doesn't mean that Goodbye Youth is aimed at lesbians exclusively; Ferrick's lyrics will resonate with plenty of listeners who are neither gay nor female. Released a decade and a half after her 1993 debut, Massive Blur, the excellent Goodbye Youth demonstrates that Ferrick still had a lot on her mind in 2008 — and for longtime followers, that is a very good thing.


Born: September 21, 1970 in Ipswich, MA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

Singer/songwriter Melissa Ferrick emerged in 1994 as part of a group of new female alternative singer/songwriters, much in the vein of Liz Phair. Raised in Ipswich, MA, she began singing in coffeehouses after dropping out of college and eventually wound up in Boston. Her major breakthrough arrived one night when she replaced Morrissey's opening act less than an hour before showtime. Ferrick's performance impressed Morrissey, who invited her to open for him during the rest of the tour. The tour earned...
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Goodbye Youth, Melissa Ferrick
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