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Melissa Etheridge - 'This Is M.E.' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d5/78/4a/melissa-etheridge-this-is-me-13-1430252118.jpg Hot

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Undoubtedly, there is much here that existing fans will enjoy.

It's not often I get to comment on the work of a Grammy and Academy Award winner and star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame, but, well, here we are with the new Melissa Etheridge album 'This Is M.E.'

As you'd expect, it's pretty easy on the ear. Etheridge's ballsy and sometimes gravelly voice contrasts nicely with the light and gentle Rock of most of the tunes on offer here.

'I Won't Be Alone Tonight' finds her "looking for an angel in cheap sunglasses and low rise jeans". The lyrical themes here, and elsewhere, will appeal to those of a certain vintage who have reason to reflect on their relationship history and life experiences. She won't be alone you know and why should she be?

Indeed, perhaps most attention will be focused on the heartfelt 'Who Are You Waiting For' – a track written for and debuted at her wedding to Linda Wallem that is being lauded as one of the most personal and emotional recordings of her career. Of its lyric, Etheridge has said: "I sat down at the piano, started writing 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!'" It's touching stuff.

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Elsewhere, 'Take My Number' is straightforward American radio-oriented Rock but does a job. 'A Little Hard Hearted' has the album's sweetest sounding melody whilst 'Monster' is a bit meaner. 'Ain't That Bad'' is meaner still and is all the better for it. 'All The Way Home' and 'Stranger Road' are enjoyable but more overtly Poppy, whereas 'Like A Preacher' is a bit more edgy and has a bit more vocal attack. Those, at any rate, are the picks for me.

'This Is M.E.' benefits from the contributions of a high quality and experienced supporting cast that includes Jerrod Bettis (Adele, One Republic, Eric Hutchinson, Gavin DeGraw), Jon Levine (Nelly Furtado, K'Naan, Selena Gomez), Jerry Wonda (the Grammy Award-winning producer of The Fugees, Mary J. Blige, Akon), young hip-hop artist RoccStar (Usher, Chris Brown) and cellist Neyla Pekarek of the Folk band The Lumineers.

Melissa Etheridge is clearly excited about these collaborations, the album and the creative spell that produced it. Undoubtedly, there is much here that existing fans will enjoy. There's also a limited edition digi-pack with a couple of extra tracks for those who want even more.

Michael Anthony

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