Rhythm & Views

Melissa Etheridge

"I saw you through my blind intoxication/ My shock-induced, insane self-medication" are the not the opening lines I'd expect from a Melissa Etheridge album. An Iggy Pop album, maybe.

Lucky is mostly a collection of real, raucous, sex-hungry rock tunes. The opening title track, like every song on this album, is a desperate plea for one last shot at romance, one final roll of the dice. It's sad that Etheridge views love as an arbitrary game doomed by fate. In her estimation, love--like luck--eventually runs dry, so she's gonna play until she's spent. Maybe she's right, but that doesn't make these songs any less sad, or any less powerful.

"This Moment" is yet another song that says love is paramount. But when Etheridge tears her own voice out--and her heart out--to sing, "Let the world fade away," you know she's not here to mince words. "If You Want To," meanwhile, is a pounding anthem that'll rattle your tongue piercing or your dentures (depending on your age). The down-and-dirty bass line and spy guitar of "Secret Agent" are more fun than I can recall Etheridge having. And ballads like "When You Find the One" seethe with raw hurt and disillusionment.

But the beating heart of this album is the AC/DC-inspired, ball-busting riffage of "Giant." Here, Etheridge finally lets ex-Mellencamp skinsman Kenny Aronoff off his leash. He obliges with a punishing performance that'll inspire the most laid-back listener to flaunt his air-drumming technique. The lyrics are pure GLBT propaganda, but given San Francisco's current face-off with conservative America, the message has never been more significant or necessary.

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