Picks and Pans Review: Your Little Secret

updated 11/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Melissa Etheridge

On her fifth album, hard rocker Melissa Etheridge is still stuck with that unfortunate Janis Joplin complex: She thinks she needs to SHOUT TO BE HEARD! (Even Joplin briefly unplugged on her biggest hit, "Me and Bobby McGee.") Throughout much of Your Little Secret, Etheridge hoots and hollers like a frantic romantic who's incapable of any emotional sensation other than overcooked angst. Still she is refreshingly catty on the sizzling title song, making up for its rote, color-by-numbers electric guitar licks by angrily tossing off bitter barbs like "Your wonderland's a mirror, baby/ It's swiftly fading like your charm" with gutsy gusto. And when she finally checks the dramatic overkill for the first half of "Shriner's Park," her voice takes on a poignant, tender ache that's more effective than all the bombast her wailing soul can muster. (Island)

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