Picks and Pans Review: Never Enough
We'd better be careful, pop music fans. We don't want people in the year 2017 to scoff at us for not having appreciated Etheridge, much as we now disdain those who didn't appreciate Bonnie Raitt for years.
As Etheridge showed with her two previous albums, she is no run-of-the-video pop rock cookie. She sings (and usually writes) tough-minded, distantly romantic songs. Typical is "Keep It Precious": "I believe we can fly on the wings we create/A voice from behind calls up anger and fear/ We can silence that scream—it's simple and clear."
As a writer, Etheridge is also capable of producing vivid images, as she does in "Ain't It Heavy": "There's a hole in my jeans I only wanted to fade/ I've been ripping out seams/ Somebody else made."
In rock mode her singing style is a kind of de-countrified rockabilly, with rhythmic surges and plaintive tones reminiscent of her nearest male counterparts: Springsteen and Mellencamp.
Etheridge can also tone down for such introspective tunes as "Place Your Hand," which she performs accompanied only by a cello, in this case played by the splendid young actor Dermot (Career Opportunities) Mulroney.
Whether this album is, as Etheridge has said she hoped, more expansive than 1988's Melissa Etheridge or 1989's Brave and Crazy, is questionable. It is, however, another triumph, something you could dance or think profound thoughts to, maybe both at the same time if you're reasonably well coordinated. (Island)