When I promised to review Melissa Etheridge’s next album in my post-show Grammy Awards editorial earlier this year, I wasn’t counting on it being a greatest hits collection. But that just makes my job easier because Etheridge has amassed quite an impressive catalog since her 1988 self-titled debut. That album was home to early classics like “Bring Me Some Water” and “Like The Way I Do,” which became a recurrent radio hit following Etheridge’s 1993 mainstream breakthrough Yes I Am. That massive album’s hits are here as well (“Come To My Window,” “I’m The Only One,” and “If I Wanted To”), but inexplicably missing are “Nowhere To Go” and the defiant title track from her slickly produced follow-up Your Little Secret, which, having sold only a third of the six-times platinum Yes I Am, was considered a mild disappointment at the time. (Also missing: last year’s “Breathe” and any songs from 2001’s Skin.) Etheridge’s ability to breathe life into clichés (she’s not the world’s greatest lyricist) and render an entire generation of bottled-up gay American angst universal made her an icon in the mid-‘90s and it’s this deeply felt personal passion that remerges in Etheridge’s new songs, particularly “This Is Not Goodbye,” an adult contemporary hit in waiting, and “I Run For Life.” The Road Less Traveled also includes the previously unreleased anti-war anthem “Christmas In America,” and new covers of Tom Petty’s “Refugee” and Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart,” the song she tore up baldheaded and beautifully at the abovementioned Grammy ceremony.
- Release Date
- October 6, 2005
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