January 27, 2009

Melissa's Breakdown

Her first and second albums were the soundtrack to my coming out in 1989: a summer long drama that lead to meeting ny future partner of 6 years in the fall. Melissa covered the entire year in the space of 2 records. Her 2nd release, Brave And Crazy, was the last vinyl I bought for the nest 18 years.
Breakdown consists of 10 tracks on one LP, one track (Scarecrow) is swapped out for My Lover (which is one of three bonus tracks on the special edition CD). Scarecrow is on a separate but included 45rpm here, with a bonus track exclusive to vinyl & import CD (They Don't Know Me). It should have been a double vinyl set with all the bonus tracks from the various Breakdown releases.

Also included are 10 'limited edition' 12" prints- basically shots from the same session as the cover but of a tree, some rocks, alternate shots of Melissa and some pointless stuff, with the track number and song titles printed in the middle of the photos (why?)- lyrics for that title are on the reverse- certainly nothing worth framing. The 45 is black vinyl in a white sleeve with lyrics printed on both sides, apparently glued together with the record already in it since a good amount of glue is strung across both sides of the record making it unplayable. The glue was useless to the sleeve since it did not hold the sides together. The inner gatefold photo is just some trees where they shot the rest of the photos. Poor album art concept but it is no less an excellent album even if it does leave Scarecrow out.

I think of this as the last really great Etheridge set- coming from the depths of heartbreak and soul searching- which is where the best Melissa Etheridge material comes from. I do love her more recent album The Awakening but it's more about the world and her beginnings than relationship material. Certainly it could have done without Threesome.

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