|This Is M.E.|
Melissa Etheridge — This Is M.E.
→ Rock 'n' roller whose hyper–American anthems were never obscured by a rich tabloid life.
Birth name: Melissa Lou Etheridge
Born: May 29, 1961
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, mandolin
Origin: Leavenworth, Kansas, U.S.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Album release: September 30, 2014
Record Label: SPV/MLE Music Inc. / M.E. Records / MLE / Universal Music
N°.: #SPV 268140 CD
01. I won't be alone tonight 4:30
02. Take my number 3:56
03. A little hard hearted 3:50
04. Do it again 3:00
05. Monster 3:30
06. Ain't that bad 3:13
07. All the way home 4:15
08. Like a preacher 4:06
09. Stranger road 3:26
10. A little bit of me 3:27
11. Who are you waiting for 4:08
12. Favorite song 3:34
13. What I do 3:48
→ Melissa Etheridge / Jon Levine 1, 3, 7, 9
→ Jerrod Bettis / Melissa Etheridge 2
→ Arden Altino / Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis / Melissa Etheridge / Angela Hunte 4
→ Arden Altino / Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis / Melissa Etheridge 5
→ Melissa Etheridge / Roccstar 6
→ Jerrod Bettis / Noah Diamond / Kelsey Eckstein / Melissa Etheridge 8
→ Jerrod Bettis / Melissa Etheridge / Christian Seibert 10
→ Melissa Etheridge 11
→ 2014 This Is M.E. The Billboard 200 #21
→ 2014 This Is M.E. Top Digital Albums #23
→ 2014 This Is M.E. Top Independent Albums #2
→ 2014 This Is M.E. Top Rock Albums #5
→ 1993 "Ain't It Heavy" Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female Won
→ 1995 "Come to My Window" Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female Won
→ Arden Altino Composer
→ Arden "Keyz" Altino Producer
→ Jerrod Bettis Bass, Composer, Producer
→ Brie Biblow Voices
→ J.J. Blair Engineer
→ Randy Cooke Drums
→ Bruce Crews Voices
→ Noah Diamond Composer
→ Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis Composer, Producer
→ Kelsey Eckstein Composer
→ Melissa Etheridge Composer, Executive Producer, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Vocals
→ Farrah "Fendi" Fleurimond Vocals
→ Josh Grabelle Artwork, Design
→ Bernard Grobman Guitar, Guitar (Steel)
→ Jamale Hopkins Drums, Percussion
→ Angela Hunt Vocals
→ Angela Hunte Composer, Vocals
→ Todd Hurtt Engineer
→ Josh Gwilliam Engineer
→ Jon Levin Keyboards, Organ, Piano
→ Jon Levine Bass, Composer, Glockenspiel, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Producer
→ Jonathan Li Voices
→ Jake Livingston A&R
→ M B F Voices
→ Stephen Marcussen Mastering
→ Melissa Papp Voices
→ Marcel Pariseau Public Relations
→ Neyla Pekarek Cello, Vocals
→ Ralph Phim Engineer
→ Daniel Piscina Engineer
→ Lance Powell Engineer
→ Nick Radovanovic Associate Remixing Engineer, Mixing
→ Ralph Rhim Engineer
→ Andrew Robertson Engineer
→ Roccstar Composer, Guitar, Producer
→ Christian Seibert Composer
→ Jon Sosin Banjo, Ukulele
→ Sergio "Sergical" Tsai Engineer, Mixing
→ John Tsiavis Photography
→ Amritha Vaz Strings
→ Natalie Walker Vocals
→ Natalie Loren Walker Vocals
→ James Wisner Mixing
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine; Score: ***
→ This Is M.E. is the twelfth studio album by American rock/pop musician Melissa Etheridge, released on September 30, 2014 by Etheridge's own label ME Records, which is distributed by Primary Wave Records. It features eleven tracks on the standard release and four bonus tracks on the Target exclusive version. In its first week on the Billboard 200, This Is M.E. debuted at #21. It also debuted at #23 on the Digital Albums chart, and #5 on the Top Rock Albums chart.
→ Punning title aside, This Is M.E. doesn't necessarily play like an affirmation of Melissa Etheridge's core strengths. Rather, this 2014 album — her 12th studio set — finds the veteran singer/songwriter stretching her legs, trying a lot of different sounds, all with the assistance of a diverse cast of collaborators. While Jerrod Bettis, a writer who previously worked with Adele and Gavin DeGraw, might seem like an easy fit, the big surprise is that Etheridge chooses to work with several R&B producers and songwriters, including Roccstar, Jon Levine, and Jerry Wonder. The difference is immediately apparent from the beginning of This Is M.E., as it opens with the wall of sound of "I Won't Be Alone Tonight," a surging piece of AAA pop that does play a bit like Adele spliced with Roccstar. This isn't the only tactic she takes on the album — "Monster" is a bit of thick, swampy rock & roll that offers a welcome jolt of grit halfway through the album — but it does indicate that This Is M.E. belongs to the small group of Etheridge albums emphasizing arena rock over roots rock. It's livelier than the often torpid 2010 effort Fearless Love but its variety can lead to the occasional pitfall, including cuts that push the R&B angle a little too hard and songs that find her chasing after the big–footed stomp of Mumford & Sons. Nevertheless, there's something appealing in hearing Etheridge try a number of new sounds: not everything fits but the restlessness is admirable.
→ A billion stars out in an endless sky, and I won’t be alone, won’t be alone, won’t be alone tonight….
→ That resolute yearning, that longing for connection, for contact, for touch… These are the core forces powering Melissa Etheridge’s cherished songs throughout her singular career. But as the rousing chorus of “I Won’t Be Alone Tonight,” the opening song of her album This is M.E., it holds some new meaning, new context.
→ With this album, her 12th collection of new material, she is not alone as a songwriter. For the vibrant collection she teamed with some of the most creative, inventive figures on the music scene: Jerrod Bettis (Adele, One Republic, Eric Hutchinson, Gavin DeGraw), Jon Levine (Nelly Furtado, K’Naan, Selena Gomez), Jerry Wonda (Grammy Award–winning producer of the Fugees, Mary J. Blige, Akon) and Roccstar (Usher, Chris Brown) at the forefront. It was a very new way of doing things for the artist, who counts two Grammy Awards and 17 nominations, an Academy Award (for “I Need to Wake Up” from the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth) and a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame among her many accolades.
→ Recording the new album proved an inspiring, electrifying experience for her, the best kind of challenge. And the resultant energy is clear in the songs.
→ “I haven’t been this excited about making music and creating in ages,” Etheridge says. “Song after song was a great experience.”
→ Make no mistake, the album’s declarative title is fully fitting — not despite the collaborations, but because of them. The powerful lyrics and incomparable voice, the indelible melodies, the blazing guitars could be from no one else. And same for the soulful joy and unbridled passion powering every note, from the big sing–along pop hooks of “A Little Hard Hearted” and “Do It Again” to the greasy, swampy sounds of “Ain’t That Bad” and “Stranger Road.”
→ These are songs right from her heart, the frisky flirtation of “Take My Number” and mystery–trip “Stranger Road” among those drawing on scenes and settings of her Kansas upbringing. And “Who Are You Waiting For” closes the album on the most intimate, emotional, personal, lump–in–the–throat note of her entire career. It’s the song she wrote for and debuted at her wedding earlier this year to Linda Wallem.
→ “I opened a door to my inner little heart and wrote a song,” she says. “I sat down at the piano, started writing and the chorus came out, about how we were friends for years and years, and as we got closer it was ‘Who are you waiting for? I’m right here!’”
→ She made a voice memo of what she’d written and sent it to Levine. “He went crazy over it, said, ‘You gotta warn me before playing something like that!’”
→ Levine put together the arrangement, including the organ that comes in toward the end. “That gets you,” she says. “The first time I heard that I burst into tears. I wasn’t there when he did it. It floored me.”
→ And that was only the preview of the song’s profound debut.
→ “I sang it at the wedding,” Etheridge says. “I was able to keep her from hearing it before. It was my vows.”
→ As the album title says, this is all Melissa Etheridge — ME.
Greg Prato, All Music Guide
→ 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 shortly thereafter. Playing in local bands throughout her teens, Etheridge then attended the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The up–and–coming singer/songwriter and guitarist dropped out after a year before making her way to Los Angeles in the early '80s to take a shot at a career in music. At this point, Etheridge's music was slightly more bluesy than her subsequently renowned folk–pop style, as a demo of original compositions caught the attention of Bill Leopold, who signed on as Etheridge's manager. Soon after, steady gigs began coming her way, including a five–night–a–week residency at the Executive Suite in Long Beach, which led to a bidding war between such major record labels as A&M, Capitol, EMI, and Warner Bros., but it was Island Records that Etheridge decided to go with.
→ Etheridge's first recorded work appeared on the forgotten soundtrack to the Nick Nolte prison movie Weeds before her self–titled debut was issued in 1988. The album quickly drew comparisons to such heavyweights as Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, as it spawned the hit single "Bring Me Some Water" and earned gold certification. In the wake of the album's success, Etheridge performed at the Grammy Awards the following year and contributed vocals to Don Henley's The End of the Innocence. Etheridge managed to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump with 1989's Brave and Crazy, which followed the same musical formula as its predecessor and proved to be another gold–certified success. It would be nearly three years before Etheridge's next studio album appeared, however, and 1992 signaled the arrival of Never Enough, an album that proved to be more musically varied.
→ But it was Etheridge's fourth release that would prove to be her massive commercial breakthrough. Tired of rumors and questions regarding her sexuality, Etheridge decided to put the speculation to rest once and for all, titling the album Yes I Am. Ex–Police producer Hugh Padgham guided the album, which spawned two major MTV/radio hits with "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window" (the latter of which featured a video with movie actress Juliette Lewis); the album would sell a staggering six million copies in the U.S. during a single–year period and earned a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocalist. But subsequent releases failed to match the success of Yes I Am, including 1995's Your Little Secret, 1999's Breakdown, and 2001's Skin, the latter of which dealt with her separation from Julie Cypher. (Cypher had birthed the couple's two children via artificial insemination; CSN&Y's David Crosby was the father.)
→ Etheridge's autobiography, The Truth Is: My Life in Love and Music, was released in 2002, and 2004's Lucky was her celebration of a new romance. Later that same year Etheridge revealed that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. But early detection allowed for recovery, and she gave strength to many of those stricken by the disease with a powerful performance of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" at the 47th annual Grammys, held in February 2005. That September, Etheridge released Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled, a compilation of career highlights and new material. It featured a cover of Tom Petty's "Refugee" as well as "Piece of My Heart" and a new song dedicated to breast cancer survivors. In 2007, Etheridge released her first studio album of new material in three years, The Awakening, on Island, following it a year later in 2008 with a holiday album, A New Thought for Christmas, also on Island. Fearless Love appeared early in 2010. Her 12th studio album, 4th Street Feeling (named for the main drag in her hometown of Leavenworth, Kansas) was released in 2012; it marked the first occasion in her career when Etheridge played all the guitar parts on one of her recordings. Two years later, she went independent with her 13th album, This Is M.E., an ambitious collection that saw her collaborating with several different producers including R&B specialists Roccstar and Jon Levine.
→ Melissa Etheridge (1988)
→ Brave and Crazy (1989)
→ Never Enough (1992)
→ Yes I Am (1993)
→ Your Little Secret (1995)
→ Breakdown (1999)
→ Skin (2001)
→ Lucky (2004)
→ Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled (2005)
→ The Awakening (2007)
→ A New Thought For Christmas (2008)
→ Fearless Love (2010)
→ Icon (2011)
→ 4th Street Feeling (2012)
→ This Is M.E. (2014)
|This Is M.E.|