Melissa Etheridge inspires with her upcoming album, This is M.E., set for release on March 11th 2016.
Written in collaboration with some of the music industry’s heavyweights – some of whom have worked with the likes of Adele, Chris Brown, Birdy and Andy Grammer, to name but a few. This may be Etheridge’s debut album released on her new label, ME Records (in conjunction with Sony Music Australia) but this is by no means her first rodeo, having released twelve other albums over the course of her career.
Known for her gravelly vocals and skilful guitar playing ability, Melissa Etheridge has been calling the rock music industry home since 1988. Throughout her career, she has received numerous accolades for her work, won Grammys and Academy Awards and even been the inspiration for other artist’ songs. She has penned hit after hit including Bring Me Some Water, Ain’t it Heavy and Come to My Window – all of which have been highly regarded for both their lyrical and musical composition. In that respect, This is M.E. is no exception.
From the first notes of her opening track, I Won’t Be Alone Tonight to the closing Saturday Dancing, all of Etheridge’s talent is on display for listeners to the world over to revel in. Though she is perhaps known more for her rock/blues edge, this album caters to every listener – whether it’s a soulful ballad you’re looking for (A Little Bit of Me), an upbeat radio-ready tune (Favourite Song) or even a funky disco-esque track to which you can dance the night away (Saturday Dancing).
With an album of such consistent quality, it is difficult to pick highlights (and there are certainly no lowlights). It really is all down to taste. The awesome guitar riffs in songs such as Monster and What I Do caught my attention. A special mention must also go to the piano ballad that Etheridge dedicated to her wife on their wedding day – a song called What Are You Waiting For. On this track, Etheridge reveals her softer side as a piano accompaniment offsets the husky tone of her vocals to create something which is so awesomely magical. These are my personal favourites.
As I close out this review, it occurs to me that we are perhaps entering a generation of music lovers who have never heard of the brilliance that is Etheridge. Though this is disappointing, I am comforted in the realisation that This is M.E. is not only an album for her old fans but will garner new ones as well.
Though it is still fairly early on in the year, the bar has already been set high. Listeners and artists alike will be hard-pressed to find an album of such finesse – a definite contender for album of 2016 (so far).
(This article first appeared in Art of Sound Magazine 2016)