Similar artists

Albums

$14.99
$12.99

Rock - Released April 12, 2019 | Concord Records

Hi-Res
For her 15th album, the singer-songwriter explores pain—physical and emotional—and the ways Americans medicate. It’s a call for marijuana legalization, a rallying cry against opioids and a plea for unity. On expansive rocker "Faded By Design," the cancer survivor eschews Western medicine for self-care: "Don't call the doctor / The cure is in my mind." The spare and lovely "Here Comes the Pain" empathizes the root cause of addiction, while "Woman Like You" explores feminism and changing norms against a swirling, McCartney-esque melody. Etheridge has said that she was going for a ’90s rock sound—"moody and fierce." With its giant grunge guitars and swooning chorus, "Shaking," a look at collective national anxiety, hits the bulls-eye. As does the fierce, arena-rock title track which proves that Etheridge can make "e-i-e-i-oh" sound tough as nails. Even drawing courage from the survivors of a mass shooting on period-perfect power ballad "Last Hello" she never condescends. There is nothing small or shy in Etheridge’s songs, and it’s refreshing. © Qobuz
$14.99
$12.99

Rock - Released October 7, 2016 | Stax

Hi-Res Booklet
Memphis Rock and Soul -- meaning the kind of integrated, funky, swampy R&B-rock hybrid cranked out of Memphis' American Sound Studio in the late '60s, music that often saw release on the Stax imprint -- is certainly well within the wheelhouse of Melissa Etheridge, who has emphasized the bluesy, soulful undercurrent in her voice since her eponymous 1988 debut. Arriving nearly 30 years after that album, Memphis Rock and Soul -- released on a revived Stax by Concord Records -- is faithful and loving to the original versions, preserving the arrangements but sometimes allowing the band to vamp a bit, as on Sam & Dave's "Hold on, I'm Coming." Usually, Etheridge stays with tried-and-true songs, finding space for both Otis Redding and Albert King, but she slides a couple of left-field choices into the mix, such as William Bell's "Wait a Minute." If Etheridge doesn't necessarily rework these songs, these straightforward interpretations illustrate why the catalog endures and her affection for both the songs and sound of Southern soul in the '60s is evident. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$10.49

Pop - Released January 1, 1993 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$8.99

Rock - Released January 1, 1988 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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. ~ Vik Iyengar
$14.99

Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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. ~ Vik Iyengar
$12.99

Rock - Released October 18, 2005 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

$7.49

Rock - Released January 1, 1989 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Not a trace of the dreaded sophomore curse was to be found on Melissa Etheridge's second album. On Brave and Crazy, the throaty singer/guitarist/composer is slightly more reflective than on her first release, but no less confident. Nor is she is any less rootsy. Etheridge's earthiness is a large part of her appeal, and she uses it most advantageously on the gutsy rockers "Skin Deep" and "Let Me Go," as well as more reflective pieces such as "Testify," "You Used to Love to Dance" and "You Can Sleep While I Drive" (which, like a lot of Bruce Springsteen's songs, equates long drives with freedom and liberation). As introspective as things get on this CD, Etheridge never becomes wimpy or self-pitying. For all its vulnerability, Brave and Crazy is the work of someone who comes across as a survivor. ~ Alex Henderson
$11.49

Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

At this stage of the game, after Melissa Etheridge's nearly 20 years in the big-time music biz, eight studio albums, chart-topping singles, endless videos, and live and greatest-hits packages (not to mention world tours), her fans are either going to go for it or they're not. The Awakening is likely not the kind of record to win a few thousand new fans over. Yet, given a particular life-changing circumstance or two and word of mouth, it might be. Musically, there isn't anything here that you haven't heard before from Etheridge. If you're a fan that's a great thing, right? (One need only remember that when 1995's Your Little Secret dropped, so did some people who had followed her from the beginning -- she won most of them back, but that slick set was the wrong track to take after the confessional and anthemic Yes I Am.) The Awakening is, according the artist, a concept record. Before you groan, this one is based on life experience, not solely ideas or opinions. For this singer and songwriter, that experience was cancer. The title of this recording is what she learned during her journey down that road and through convalescence, true, but it's also a straightforward look back and forward through a life -- her own. An autobiography can be boring and self-indulgent, especially in pop music, but it can also be an intimate and exciting look at an artist who has been guarded or protected by myth. The Awakening is both. It's interesting that while so many of these songs are peppered with faux-mystical approaches to spirituality, the album is also confessional and looks hard at itself, even if at times it seems cloying, self-indulgent, and preachy. There is plenty of straight talk about mistakes made, such as in "An Unexpected Rain" and in the opening statements about family in "California." Musically, The Awakening is not different from what Etheridge has done before. This is basically soft, grown-up folky rock; it's that adult contemporary thing she's come to wear so well for the last six years or so. She rocks less and spends more time tweaking the records she does make, but then she's a grown-up now and her fans appear to be aging along with her demographically. There is little hunger here, but there is more gratitude, along with observations about being content in life and love. That said, there is some sly humor in "Threesome," where she talks about not wanting one, but doesn't seem to mind looking at the damage people can do to one another while in them on late-night TV. (The sincerity in the statement of fidelity is obvious; the wicked irony is in the voyeurism.) The preachiness comes in tracks where the guitars get tangled up in the words -- in the message, so to speak -- as in an antiwar song that, while noble in intention, is clunky in its execution. The recurring theme in The Awakening is to see one's life for what it is before it slips away. That's done here to a near fault, but it's through a trial-by-fire set of experiences along with a rosy frame of the here and now. The hassles of the moment aren't expressed; rather, the songwriter is looking at all this from above. If there's not a lot new to write about Etheridge musically, that's fine too; she's found a sound that really works for her and communicates to her fans directly and simply, and gets those commonalities between them across. But it doesn't make for exciting rock music, and it doesn't necessarily speak to anyone who doesn't share these life or cultural experiences, either. ~ Thom Jurek
$11.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2004 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

A mirthful turnaround from the soul-searching breakup record Skin, Melissa Etheridge's Lucky is a breezy celebration of new romance. But it also revels in the easy freedom of making music unburdened by the itchy yoke of having something to prove. Eight albums and numerous accolades in, Etheridge finally seems comfortable in her skin. She's willing to play the record company game, juicing some tracks with sound-alike electronic programming and cutting an obvious play for Hot AC hit status in the sappy lead single "Breathe," a track cribbed from modern rock also-rans Greenwheel by Etheridge producer John Shanks. But despite Lucky's glossy, easily digestible tendencies, it still burns bright with the usual Etheridge fervor. Her love life has been common knowledge for quite a while, but Lucky might be her most unflinchingly honest record yet. Her chrome-plated heart is finally, fully out in the open -- she's jazzed up about her new lady, and isn't afraid to sing about it. There's the challenging, brazen rock of "Come Out Tonight" ("Does your mama know who you're hangin' around/A souped up punk in a rock & roll gown, small town"), as well as "Kiss Me"'s come-hither slink, which is sexy at its highest volume. But as much as she still loves the unabashed, beer-soaked rocker, Etheridge's softer moments have continued to mature. "This Moment" is one place where the album's touches of synth work beautifully, building a romantic universe inside the chorus' fleeting passage of time. "Meet Me in the Dark" and the fabulous "Mercy" are even more personal, the latter employing accompanying vocalist Bernie Barlow to establish the dialog between the aging, wanting Etheridge and her vibrant new gal. Woah. Is it getting hot in here? But it's that directness that keeps the album and Etheridge herself vital after all the production niceties and mainstream curlicues have fallen away. Lucky's best stretch might be at its midpoint, "Secret Agent" and "Will You Still Love Me." The two tracks seamlessly blend each side of Melissa Etheridge -- the bawdy rocker, the heartfelt searcher, and the talented songwriter -- and prove that, in just her jacket and jeans, she can make a hit record for the mainstream that's as personal as a love letter. ~ Johnny Loftus
$10.49

Pop - Released January 1, 1995 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

On her fifth album, Melissa Etheridge mixed her primary musical influences--a lot of Bruce Springsteen, some Led Zeppelin, a little U2--with a set of directed love lyrics--a lot of "you," some "I," a little "they"--that seemed to revolve around a romantic triangle. Etheridge's emotional concerns were specifically same sex-oriented, not so much because she flaunted her lesbianism as because of the way she thought about sex and relationships. Her lyrics were full of references to exchanges of identities between lovers: "I really like you, baby / I want to be you"; "Please let me into your eyes"; and "Spend the night inside of my skin" in a song called, "I Could Have Been You." This lyrical focus was the point of distinction in Etheridge's songs, which otherwise came off as generic Americana rock, full of small-town imagery--jeans, t-shirts, tattoos, Wal-Mart--that she failed to valorize as Springsteen did. The other distinguishing characteristic, as it was in all her albums, was Etheridge's impassioned performing style--she may not have had a lot to say or much craft in saying it, but she wanted you to know she really meant it. One is tempted to say that listeners may have had enough of that aggressive posture by this point, since, surprisingly, Your Little Secret was an initial commercial disappointment after the career breakthrough of the multi-million-selling Yes I Am. (Maybe the album rocked a little too hard for the VH1 crowd that had bought Yes I Am after its videos entered saturation rotation. The decline of AOR radio also may have been a factor.) In fact, though, the album probably suffered due because it arrived right on the heels of the belated breakthrough of Yes I Am, which turned into a smash in 1995 after having been released in September 1993. Island would have been wiser to withhold the followup for six months. Over the longer term, however, Etheridge's challenge would be to grow as a writer, now that incessant touring and a string of good-but-not-great albums finally had brought her to the platinum threshhold. Your Little Secret left the question about such growth open. ~ William Ruhlmann
$18.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Booklet
$12.99

Rock - Released January 1, 1992 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

In 1988, Melissa Etheridge's career ignited behind the full-throttle single "Bring Me Some Water" and her eponymous debut's earthy rock sound was hailed by critics and fans alike. The 1989 follow-up, Brave and Crazy, mixed a little grace into the grit, but was still in line with the trad rock of guys like John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen. While these albums had their share of introspection, 1992's Never Enough marked an even greater maturation in Etheridge's sound. Lyrically, it seemed to be the singer's most personal album yet, while a good portion of its set list consisted of heartfelt ballads. Sure, "Must Be Crazy for Me" and "Meet Me in the Back" are laced with barroom come-ons and roll with the kind of rock traditionalism that originally established her. But the largely acoustic "Boy Feels Strange" brought us inside a failing relationship, while perhaps inadvertently addressing the rumbles and rumors concerning Etheridge's own sexuality. Likewise, "Letting Go" brought her raw vocal style to a wounded, almost fragile, place not apparent before, and was guided by the plaintive notes of a solitary piano. The songs were challenging not only from a musicianship and songwriting standpoint, but also as the next steps in Etheridge's still-young career. It was a risk to issue a record like Never Enough after a three-year hiatus and into a market that might have expected "Bring Me Some MORE Water." Etheridge's choice of a single was even more gutsy. "2001" sounded nothing like anything she had done before. Guided by stuttering, synthetic percussion and a guitar line reminiscent of the Edge's postmodern squawk on U2's "The Fly," "2001" was simultaneously one of the album's coolest and craziest songs. It further indicated Etheridge's maturation as a songwriter and helped make Never Enough her strongest statement to that point. ~ Johnny Loftus
$7.49

Pop - Released January 1, 2001 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

If ever there was a perfect breakup album, this is it. Skin is Melissa Etheridge's first album since she split with her long-term partner and it takes you on a tour of the hurt, healing, and the journey of making sense of it all. Travel through the pain, longing, and lamenting along with Etheridge herself as she goes "looking for a little salvation." In her own raw, strength-of-heart style and that husky voice of hers, Etheridge sings about the long, trying process that one usually undergoes in order to find the answers, forgiveness, and clues about losing and staying in the game of love. The opening track, "Lover Please," is an aggressive tune where your heroine, wounded heart in hand, sings with true emotion, asking, "Didn't I love you right?" On the track "The Prison," Etheridge sings in a quavering and romantic voice about her torment, while she is "trying to get out of my skin." Etheridge's harmonica playing on this track is so potent, it makes it all the more harder to swallow. Yet as the songs progress, so does Etheridge's strength. Known for her sensibility for raw emotion, Etheridge delivers nothing less. And on the nostalgic track "Walking on Water," you can sense that she is gaining some footing on her pain and beginning to pick herself up again. But the ballad-like "Down to One" knocks your heart out with one whack as she croons, "my heart is a traitor." Back to square one. The album climaxes and Etheridge sorts through her demons with simple, heart-felt lyrics that hit the spot right through to the truth. Etheridge gets funky on the groovy track "Goodnight" and the fresh-sounding, freewheelin' "I Want to Be in Love." But it is her unbridled honesty that drives this album right into your gut. Etheridge is not alone in her plight through anger, confusion, yearnings for forgiveness, acceptance, and the process of starting over. She reveals the depth of her pain on the dark track "Heal Me." Like love, this album simply leaves that infamously ambiguous mystery lingering in the air: Why do people pay so much for love? And Etheridge does it with such conviction, you cannot help but listen closely. ~ Kerry L. Smith
$8.99

Pop - Released October 5, 1999 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Shortly after becoming a household name, Melissa Etheridge released Your Little Secret in 1995, an album that performed well but didn't quite receive the acclaim or sales of her 1993 breakthrough, Yes I Am. Following its release, she took some time off and became a parent. During her self-imposed hiatus, pop music underwent a quiet revolution, as female artists accounted for the majority of record sales and radio play. There were rootsy singer/songwriters in the same vein as Etheridge, but by and large they were overshadowed by the bouncy pop of the Spice Girls and their ilk, Alanis Morissette and her offspring, and Sarah McLachlan and the Lilith Fair crowd. If this affected Etheridge at all, it's not apparent from her comeback, Breakdown. There are a couple of concessions to the late '90s, primarily in the presence of subdued, vaguely hip-hop-influenced rhythms that underpin some mid-tempo cuts, but Breakdown is the work of an artist who is assured and comfortable, meaning that she's not afraid to play straight-ahead music or to delve deep into her soul. Consequently, it's the most intimate album she's ever made. A by-product of this development is that the record isn't as visceral or immediate as her earlier work, and some of the songs need a few plays before they sink in completely. That may mean that some listeners will not have the patience to truly hear Breakdown for what it is -- a low-key but revealing record that is intimate even when it rocks the hardest. But those who do will discover that its best moments -- whether it's "Scarecrow," her moving tribute to hate-crime victim Matthew Shepard, or the nakedly autobiographical "Mama I'm Strange" -- find Etheridge exploring new, refreshingly honest territory that suits this subdued musical style quite well. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$12.99

Rock - Released April 12, 2019 | Concord Records

For her 15th album, the singer-songwriter explores pain—physical and emotional—and the ways Americans medicate. It’s a call for marijuana legalization, a rallying cry against opioids and a plea for unity. On expansive rocker "Faded By Design," the cancer survivor eschews Western medicine for self-care: "Don't call the doctor / The cure is in my mind." The spare and lovely "Here Comes the Pain" empathizes the root cause of addiction, while "Woman Like You" explores feminism and changing norms against a swirling, McCartney-esque melody. Etheridge has said that she was going for a ’90s rock sound—"moody and fierce." With its giant grunge guitars and swooning chorus, "Shaking," a look at collective national anxiety, hits the bulls-eye. As does the fierce, arena-rock title track which proves that Etheridge can make "e-i-e-i-oh" sound tough as nails. Even drawing courage from the survivors of a mass shooting on period-perfect power ballad "Last Hello" she never condescends. There is nothing small or shy in Etheridge’s songs, and it’s refreshing. © Qobuz
$8.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Booklet
$12.99

Rock - Released October 7, 2016 | Stax

Memphis Rock and Soul -- meaning the kind of integrated, funky, swampy R&B-rock hybrid cranked out of Memphis' American Sound Studio in the late '60s, music that often saw release on the Stax imprint -- is certainly well within the wheelhouse of Melissa Etheridge, who has emphasized the bluesy, soulful undercurrent in her voice since her eponymous 1988 debut. Arriving nearly 30 years after that album, Memphis Rock and Soul -- released on a revived Stax by Concord Records -- is faithful and loving to the original versions, preserving the arrangements but sometimes allowing the band to vamp a bit, as on Sam & Dave's "Hold on, I'm Coming." Usually, Etheridge stays with tried-and-true songs, finding space for both Otis Redding and Albert King, but she slides a couple of left-field choices into the mix, such as William Bell's "Wait a Minute." If Etheridge doesn't necessarily rework these songs, these straightforward interpretations illustrate why the catalog endures and her affection for both the songs and sound of Southern soul in the '60s is evident. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$12.99

Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 2008 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Melissa Etheridge's Christmas album -- released in 2008, reissued in deluxe form the following year -- is faithful to her blues-rock beginnings while retaining a pleasant, relaxed, seasonal vibe. To Etheridge's credit, she devotes a considerable chunk of the record to originals, mostly slower, meditative pieces, but she kicks up the tempo on "It's Christmas Time," which stands alongside the bluesy shuffle of "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Blue Christmas" as the liveliest stuff here. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$1.49

Rock - Released January 9, 2019 | SPV

$10.49

Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Talk about the human condition. When Melissa Etheridge released Lucky in early 2004, it was in celebration of a new romance and her status as a veteran singer/songwriter. Sadly, just a few months later, she announced she had breast cancer. But then, almost exactly a year after Lucky's release, Etheridge was on-stage at the Grammys singing a powerful version of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart." Her bold, and bald, performance proved that cancer wasn't Melissa Etheridge's goodbye. But it also gave hope to anyone experiencing the same ordeal. Etheridge celebrates her career again with 2005's Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled, which joins highlights and singles from her albums to unreleased material and a rousing studio version of "Piece of My Heart." The cover shot's great, an update of 1992's Never Enough depicting a short-haired Etheridge and her trusty Ovation, and so is her cover of the Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers classic "Refugee," which builds from a raw acoustic track to a full-blown rock band/backup singer belter. From there the set continues chronologically. The breathy keyboards of "Similar Features" date it to 1988, but "Like the Way I Do" and "Bring Me Some Water," its fellow singles from Etheridge's self-titled debut, are shots of bluesy, brassy rock & roll that renew amazement in Etheridge's unchecked passion as a vocalist. (Actually, this collection could consist of "Bring Me Some Water" 17 times in a row and still be awesome.) Brave and Crazy's gently evocative "You Can Sleep While I Drive" plays out like a little movie, while the 1993 hit Yes I Am is represented by three slicker yet still strong tracks. Later albums like Breakdown and Your Little Secret get one song each. While she's always been brave, it's clear as Road Less Traveled plays out that Etheridge became less crazy as the 1990s unfolded. She adjusted the swagger of her earlier records with turns toward conventional album-oriented rock and lighter, more tasteful singles ("Come to My Window," for example). But her songwriting always endured, as the previously unreleased "This Is Not Goodbye" and "I Run for Life" show. Both inspired by her cancer, the former is an elegiac meditation on mortality while the latter celebrates recovery, endurance, and belief. Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled is a comprehensive, entertaining, and ultimately redemptive collection from a woman who truly deserves it. ~ Johnny Loftus