Monday, March 12, 2007

Melissa Etheridge, First Album Track by Track

Track by track of Melissa Etheridge, by guess who.

1) Similar Features - Heavy bass to begin, then M's voice very close and deliberate. "It shouldn't bother you." Building in intensity. "Imagine me there," someone with similar features to me. "I wanted to be the one." A do-it-by numbers dream, close your eyes, she's got similar features, but longer hair. Your loved one needs to be there, not just someone you don't love. So true. How could anyone want other than the one? Oh yeah, lust. But this gets back to the things of a true relationship. Kind of a guilt-inducing song, but in a positive way so the other person may realize the error of her ways. Who wants to lose what they have? On the other hand, if the person needs to be told all this, maybe she needs counseling or dumping. This is a pretty somber song with a heavy message. Use only for a struggling relationship, in which you're the wronged party.

2) Chrome Plated Heart - She has a chrome plated heart, angels up above crying, with rust in their eyes, etc. Sounds like maybe some car imagery, going by cars I personally have owned. The song has a funky acoustic guitar interplay. Chromium blues. Driving for miles. Love is real as the day is long, and night is black. So a heart that is chrome plated? Shiny but on a rusting frame. Also tough, rust on their love. Sleeping on the tracks, someone's about to run over her heart. This is also a very somber song, with a good chugga chugga going on, daring, strong vocals crying out in real despair. Then the title repeated and a plaintive fade.

3) Like The Way I Do - "Is it so hard to satisfy your senses?" To love me you have to climb some fences, scratching and clawing. I'm sensing a relationship song where there's a third party again, such as track 1. "Does SHE miss you, existing just to kiss YOU like I do?" The singer definitely carefully examines a relationship and wonders seriously about any kind of straying from the real thing. Which is kind of stupid, but as in track 1, there is lust and stupidity, a "Love the one you're with" kind of thing. "Does she LOVE you?" That's the whole thing, with stimulation and captivation back home as well. Yes, shock, electrify, rock you. Intense, and again, maybe best heard if you have the blues and maybe a straying partner. And who wants that? Builds to an anguished "No!!!!," then we're getting into the essential chorus ragged out, with a little more than a minute left. I don't know that I'd want to hear this from my loved one, but at least I can tell she'd probably have me back, and that's good. Instrumental now for the last 45 seconds, I would guess. We'll far so good, and there goes the fade.

4) Precious Pain - The title gets to me, having heard the previous 3 songs, I'm a little afraid where we're going here. "Everybody's got a hunger no matter where they are." Clinging to their own fear, hiding some scars. The pain is termed precious. This is a personal, close song, somber, reflective, with safety: kept safe in these chains. 2nd verse: "Everybody's got a reason to abandon their plan." Thinking of tomorrow with sorrow in hand today. One day, today. Examine your depression, your pain (other than depression as well.) Song builds, nice guitar work. Now back to some examination of the precious pain, empty and cold, keeping her alive, safe in these chains. We don't usually think of pain in such a positive way. So when life gives you lemons, look at them. Maybe lemons have something good about them. What could you possibly make?

5) Don't You Need - Starts off with guitar and voice. Had a dream, awoke with the taste of desire on her mouth. Realized her heart abducted her mind and both went south. Now she can't sleep because she's so wired, and screaming out, "Don't you need, don't you want, can't you taste it when you're alone?" Questioning someone on the intensity of their experience in some particular area. A thirst that can't be quenched, no relief for the hungry at heart. But this other person is just a thief, yet she holds the cards. There's some similarities to the other songs in intensity, fairly somber mood. The other songs didn't question the reality of the relationship, but this one is seeking out the sense of it all. Is the reality the same for you as it is for me? Song is returning at the end to the dream from the beginning, with fire in the dream, burning in her dreams and only morning can set her free. A minute to go, a nice breath at about 1:07 to go. Sounds like we might be guitaring it out from that point. Yes.

6) The Late September Dogs - Little spoken bit, then the song moans into view. Some cool interplay of instruments, bass, droning. I like songs that ease into it like that, but the guitar sounds very minimal in such a context. Nice, sparse, naked voice. Low-key droning in the background, and the bass returns. She feels a change in the air, searching for mercy everywhere, since...someone left. Calling out her name, and shouting: "Let it rain!" Intensity, letting the rain set her free, raining down on her. "Silence is the steel that pierces and cuts me to the bone." I like the notes blending in here, giving it a carefully organized but commiserating quality. Like emotions working in harmony and examining one's situation. Like some of the other songs, there's definitely trouble, estrangement, separation. Rain, going for newness, intensity, solid strong standing against the challenge, maybe even standing against all elements. Still 2:30 to go. Now the dogs are mentioned, the late September ones. She walked before she crawled. Her soul remembers and clutches to the pain. Intense, anguished song, with the last part being a repetition and building on what went before. Some tough stuff.

7) Occasionally - Starts with hand percussion. Saw someone with her new friends. She looks swell. The singer is drinking too much coffee and smoking cigarettes, just can't forget. "I'm only lonely when I'm driving in my car," and after dark. The hand percussion continues on, no other instrument. Lonely occasionally, when doing all this stuff. Here she (singer) has her strangers, addicted to the pain of delight. That's kind of a conflict with some of the other songs, but "after dark" all kinds of things can happen, and "occasionally." OK, that was no instruments all the way through.

8) Watching You - Guitar is back, with a simple acoustic beginning. "That's a good question. Why am I standing out here alone?" Doesn't know enough to come in from the rain, watching someone's window from here below, and might stay there all day. Needs to do something, because if she can't love you she don't want to love you. Trouble in paradise again. Wait, I don't think we've ever had paradise yet, except memories of true love somewhere way back when. So I keep watching you. Wondering about it all. Talking: wanting a cigarette. She can hear the dark side of the moon sometimes. Somber, intense, naked song. Still 2:24 to go. Some building intensity, now back to some resolution. All right, not very cold, subway mentioned, with sound effect overlay. Repeating some of the "If I can't love you..." theme. Last 50 seconds is getting intense, keep watching you, until she sees right through. Relationship examination, up close, x-ray close.

9) Bring Me Some Water - Tonight she feels so weak, but "in love all is fair." A sting, foulness of the night air. Tonight some other woman is making love to you. Bring me some water because I'm burning alive. Her baby's got another lover. Wow, the relationship demise never leaves, and of course the "Sweet Devil's got her soul." This is an intense song, the raw emotions back to the surface, spilling over, with the other woman whispering M's lover's name. "I don't know how I'm going to survive," very much an album of catharsis songs. The music has a fuzzed up guitar with an edge, matching the song's theme. There's a full rock band pounding it out. Last 30 seconds, repeating the sweet devil, other lover stuff. Whoever the chick is putting me through all this, I think I'd kick her to the curb.

10) I Want You - Rocking out, spitting out the vocal, with the rawness very clear. The lyrics have an edge, spit spit spit. "I want you," repeated several times. Desire and a stain inside of me. I didn't catch that bit after that. She (singer) is tortured, pounding inside her chest, screaming. I want you, I want you, I want you. Instrumental break at 1:40-ish to go. Heart in your fist, is it blood that you want? "Take me, strip me, cut me, see I'm bleeding." I like intensity, but relationships have to be more than being dumped/neglected/despised, don't they?, then pleading to be cut and stripped. Presumably she actually begins her day with toast and juice and isn't always quite this miserable. Aw, to be young and tortured again.

Overall, an impassioned album. Not simple or safe by any means. The songs have a certain simplicity but are complex statements of personal stuff. It's mostly on relationships that have gone sour or that may have been illusory. The music is played very much in touch with the lyrical content, not meant to overwhelm or contradict what is being said. What is being said is seen as most important, and the music expresses the same emotions.

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