"I confess that I recently saw Melissa's Chicago Theatre concert. She brought the house down. She treated 4000 fans to a wonderful mix of her old rock favs and her new acoustic style hits. Her new style is much more mature... deeper and more provocative. She can still kick it but she has risen to a new level of mastery. Her singing has lost none of its raw power. But now she demonstrates a deeper level of sensitivity and grace than her other album's.Her emotion is still right there. "Silent Legacy" from the "Yes I Am" album draws tears from me every time I hear it. Now "Scarecrow" continues her power over my feelings and tear ducts... what a simple but powerful image she evokes through the lyrics and expression of this song. She is awesome.The other day I bought the guitar tablature to the Breakdown album. I want to point out that this is some very fine guitar work. Melissa's guitar artistry has grown substantially to complement the brilliant John Shanks.All in all, this is a great work of musical art. No Melissa fan should be without it. And by all means go see her perform these songs live... travel across country if necessary, Melissa has never been better."
Missy's takin' lessons from the kids
St. Chris | Browns Mills, NJ USA | 02/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album features Melissa Etheridge and John Shanks together as producers. With Hugh Padgham absent, the sound is a real departure from Yes I Am and Your Little Secret, so you may wonder whether you've adjusted your stereo wrong. Sit tight, you'll get used to it -- it's just a different mix, and not a bad one. Melissa's voice is especially prominent, many times sounding like she's right in front of you (did they do something special to the audio?), and she sounds great.
Melissa definitely mellowed for this album. (Must be motherhood.) There's no amp-blowin' rockers like "I'm the Only One" or "Your Little Secret" and no fast-tempo thrash like "I Really Like You." What she does provide is a rich, constant flow of introspection and emotion. Yes, some of the songs have the same sound, but it's a sound worth revisiting. And yes, many tracks are poppy, but what does that really mean except that they stand on their own? When individually strong tracks form a coherent sequence, you've got a great album.
The multimedia (Mac/PC) portion of the disc is well-designed, providing a song list which will play each song while showing the lyrics, credits, and photograph. (I've seen another reviewer complain that it wouldn't play the music, but it worked just fine on my Mac.) There's also a QuickTime interview with Melissa talking about the album and the making of the "Angels Will Fall" video -- though that video itself is not included on this disc. Also has a link to the excellent Melissa Etheridge Information Network web site.
Incidentally, my kids (one-and-a-half and four) love this album. When the younger one looks up and says "Missa Efwidge!" you know he's asking for Breakdown. The tempo is even enough for us to pick him up and dance all afternoon, and the songs are all good enough (at least) to keep my finger off the "skip" button. Perhaps Melissa did that for the parents in the audience. Many thanks!
PS. Listen for passages influenced by the Beatles and Peter Gabriel. The former, the bridge in "Angels Will Fall," was cut from the radio single, much to its detriment. The latter is "Scarecrow" (especially the bridge) -- an adept appropriation of Gabriel's style, like nothing you've heard before from Melissa."
MELISSA, YOU'VE OUTDONE YOURSELF!
Michele | Wisconsin, USA | 11/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a diehard Melissa fan since 1989, and I must admit that Melissa truly has outdone herself! The lyrics on some tracks actually brought me to tears, they hit so close to home - as always with Melissa's heartfelt and passionate music. Thank you, Melissa, for touching my life over all of these years with your "truth of the heart"!"
So you're having a breakdown...
Jake Z | Canada | 07/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to choose a favorite Melissa Etheridge album. She writes her own music, and tends to wear her heart on her sleeve. She invites you into her world, and captivates you with her voice and her magic. This would be pretty close to my favorite album by her. It's just so raw and unapologetic. It's like she's just putting it out there and saying "Here are my feelings, how you choose to respond is up to you". The album is deeply personal and rooted in emotions. The title track just grabs you with its honesty. "Angels Would Fall" is the album's first single, and it's a great song. The quieter moments on the cd are what grab me more, like the moving ballad "How Would I Know", or "My Lover" and "Sleep". "Enough Of Me" is a no holds barred song that is just moving with it's passion. Other highlights include "Mama I'm Strange", "Scarecrow" and "Stronger Than Me". This is the version to get as it includes some great b-sides, including "Touch and Go", "Beloved" and the uptempo "Cherry Avenue" (another favorite). Great album!"