Top Ten Songs by Melissa Etheridge

She’s got 90+ songs credited to her name, 9 albums, 17 years in the music business, 2 Grammy Awards, and countless fans swooning at every concert. With those kinds of numbers, it becomes rather difficult to narrow the list of Melissa Etheridge titles down to ten of her best. I could probably compile completely different lists dependent upon my moods. But, if I sit real still, think real hard, and squeeze my knees together real close, I think then, and only then, I might be able to limit my favorites to ten.

My first pick is “Bring Me Some Water,” from her self-titled album. This is actually from the third CD I ever had of hers. I started listening to Melissa seven years ago when she released Breakdown. I immediately acquired all the CDs released prior to it and continue to buy and listen to her songs today. My favorites from those albums tend to a more depressing tone and certainly suited the angst-y teen that I was at the time.

Both from Breakdown, my second and third picks are “Stronger Than Me” and “Enough of Me”. Both songs hint at her break from Julie Cypher and their 12-year relationship. “Stronger Than Me” questions the point of putting so much effort into a relationship, only to turn your back on it and let it fail. “Enough of Me” deals with doubts about putting enough of herself in her relationship and questions what more she could have given for it to have been enough. I love these songs for the heartfelt misery she put into each one.

It’s for a completely different reason that I like my fourth, fifth, and sixth picks of “Giant” “Secret Agent,” and “Kiss Me.” All from her Lucky CD, these songs are entirely made up of sexy lyrics, plenty of guitar, and a heavy beat. A complete departure from her previous CDs, this one is jam-packed with fun and totally upbeat songs. The first time I heard them, I couldn’t believe the knot of happiness it caused in my chest. Just as all her previous CDs had hallmarked her confusion, loss, and depression, this one shouted her newfound happiness.

My seventh pick is “I Could Have Been You,” – one of Melissa’s personal favorites – from the CD titled Your Little Secret. Similar to “Giant” and many other songs in her repertoire, the song deals with lesbianism and social change. “I Could Have Been You” focuses on how being gay really doesn’t put you apart from other people. You still have feelings, can still bleed when you’re hurt and shiver when you’re cold. And, really, the only difference is so minute that by a tiny change in fate, the people who hate you for who you love could find themselves loving the same way. “Giant” deals with being out and proud and having not let anyone else’s misgivings or denials block your path to being happy and whole.

“Lover Please,” my eighth pick, comes from her Skin CD. All ten songs openly deal with her public breakup hinted in Breakdown. As Lucky brings a smile to my face, Skin manages to break me down in awe of her vulnerability. Her previous works don’t put a finger on the open, raw feeling put into these songs.

Also from Skin is my ninth pick, “I Want To Be In Love.” It’s an incredibly hopeful song that made me feel like love is worth looking for. If she can go through the breakup she did and still want to try again, that means something. I thought it important to point out my favorite line in the song: “in front of total strangers won’t you kiss me” – it strikes me as something you wouldn’t have to worry about if you were in a straight relationship.

Finally, my last pick is a song found on her new album The Road Less Traveled. Titled “I Run for Life,” it obviously covers her feelings and experiences over discovering, treating, and defeating breast cancer. It was written for Ford’s “Race for the Cure” to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer charities. It is an amazingly beautiful song. In it she sings her first verse about one woman’s experience as a survivor, her second verse about her own experience, and her third verse is meant to bring awareness to those who haven’t been affected by cancer, but may be in the future.

Each of these songs so beautifully conveys her life experiences and aspirations. It’s this naked truth that pulls her music above so many others who seem only to care about making it big and having a lot of fans. In fact, she has made it big and brings in thousands of fans, simply because she doesn’t care about selling enough tickets; she cares about being honest about herself and her life in her lyrics. If you haven’t already experienced any of her music, I would highly recommend these ten songs to get you started.

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