Melissa Etheridge is one of the most passionate and honest rockers out there. With her unique blend of acoustic guitar driven rock and uncanny songwriting ability, she offers some of the most refreshing musical delights to be found. Her 1993 release, Yes I Am remains one of her best albums of all time.
1. Im The Only One
2. If I Wanted To
3. Come To My Window
4. Silent Legacy
5. I Will Never Be The Same
6. All American Girl
7. Yes I Am
10. Talking To My Angel
Producer: Hugh Padgham and Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Etheridge Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Mauricio Fritz Lewak Drums, Percussion
Scott Thurston Keyboards
Waddy Wachtel Electric Guitar
Back in college, a good friend of mine turned me on to the music of Melissa Etheridge. We were playing in a band together, and she told me that Etheridge was one of her favorite musicians and would love it if our band learned to cover of a few of her tunes. I had only heard of Etheridge before that, but Im very glad that I took the time to find out what she was all about. I went out and got her latest CD (at that time), and I quickly fell in love with what I heard.
Her songs are back to basics, no-frills pop-rock-folk songs in the tradition of a young John Cougar (Mellencamp?). Like Mellencamp, she hails from the Midwest and brings that small town honesty to her music. She plays the acoustic guitar, and that perspective really shows in her arrangements. Her vocals have a slightly smoky edge, which can belt out in desperation one moment, and turn a gentle tenderness the next. The subject matter of her songs is rooted in real life, often singing about people, relationships, and, of course, love.
The album itself is probably one of the most complete collections she has put out, before and since. The production is rather invisible, allowing the music to shine out. Every song on the disk is great, so noting the outstanding ones is a tough task.
Im The Only One - The opening track is a very bluesy rocker. Etheridge is belting out in true fashion, as she tells an absent lover, Im the only one wholl walk across the fire for you. Sometimes I wonder if Melissa has serious insecurity issues, because she always seems to be desperately trying to tell someone why they should be with her and not someone else.
Come To My Window - This was the hit single from this song, and perhaps you may have seen the video. Actually, its my least favorite song on this disk. So if youve heard it, and you like it, just know that the rest of the album is that much better.
Silent Legacy - This is Melissas tribute song to the trials and tribulations of discovering ones sexuality (read: homosexuality). The silent legacy refers to the old moniker for being gay as the love that has no name. It is an inspiring song about refusing to pass down a legacy of intolerance and bigotry. I am not gay, but this song really connected with me on many levels, and is one of my favorite songs of all time. She really stands up and owns her pain, and as a result, controls it.
I Will Never Be The Same - Another ballad, this one is a passionate song about being changed by the power of true love. Again, there are undertones about being a lesbian, as her lover was afraid to embrace their relationship, remaining in the closet. But I loved you / and the I lost you / and I will never be the same.
Talking to My Angel - Another quite ballad, this song is a hopeful song about finding a reason to be optimistic. The chorus line goes Ive been talking to my angel and he says that its alright
Yes I Am is an incredible album that everyone should own. It was my first introduction to Etheridges music and still remains, in my opinion, her absolute best. The songs are catchy and moving. Some people may balk at the idea of finding inspiration in the music of an openly gay woman. But as Ive always said, real genius transcends all boundaries. It doesnt matter what your specific inclination is, Etheridge will touch you in ways you wont expect. Five stars!
Melissa Etheridge Melissa Etheridge