Breakdown

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jon Dolan
Before there was Lillith, there was Missy. Arriving at the tail end of the MTV '80s, playing strident folk-rock in the Springsteen-Mellencamp tradition, Melissa Etheridge was an old-school feminist standing in stark contrast to the sexually contentious individualism of stars like Madonna. She's been working that charismatic power ever since, establishing herself as a distant elder relation to Ani and Alanis. And she's never worked it more successfully than on BREAKDOWN. Turning away from her roots-rock past without losing an ounce of anthemic integrity, Etheridge and producer John Shanks have set a collection of starkly intimate sentiments to tectonically shifting ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jon Dolan
Before there was Lillith, there was Missy. Arriving at the tail end of the MTV '80s, playing strident folk-rock in the Springsteen-Mellencamp tradition, Melissa Etheridge was an old-school feminist standing in stark contrast to the sexually contentious individualism of stars like Madonna. She's been working that charismatic power ever since, establishing herself as a distant elder relation to Ani and Alanis. And she's never worked it more successfully than on BREAKDOWN. Turning away from her roots-rock past without losing an ounce of anthemic integrity, Etheridge and producer John Shanks have set a collection of starkly intimate sentiments to tectonically shifting post-modern beatscapes and Wallflowers-style smart, folkified alt-pop. Early fans will appreciate the YES I AM-style rocker "Breakdown," the vulnerable breakup tune "Stronger Than Me," and the striking "Angels Would Fall." But the album's best moments lie in Etheridge's ability to stretch out musically without straying too far from home. Her performance on "Mama I'm Strange," a power-pop tune about adolescent awkwardness, suggests Garbage's robo-diva Shirley Manson reborn as a living, breathing, empathetic human being. Likewise, the trip-hop-inflected "Into the Dark" has a relaxed elegance that helps lend confidence to precarious lines like, "There's a place where we must go/ Into the soul/ Into the heart/ Into the dark." And then there's the album's most ambitious moment, "Scarecrow," in which an ominous compu-groove and major-chord drive underlies an impassioned if relatively heavy-handed song about Matthew Shepard, the young, gay Wyoming man murdered last year. It's tough stuff, just what you'd expect from a pioneering songwriter finding a fresh voice in midcourse.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Shortly after becoming a household name, Melissa Etheridge released Your Little Secret in 1995, an album that performed well but didn't quite receive the acclaim or sales of her 1993 breakthrough, Yes I Am. Following its release, she took some time off and became a parent. During her self-imposed hiatus, pop music underwent a quiet revolution, as female artists accounted for the majority of record sales and radio play. There were rootsy singer/songwriters in the same vein as Etheridge, but by and large they were overshadowed by the bouncy pop of the Spice Girls and their ilk, Alanis Morissette and her offspring, and Sarah McLachlan and the Lilith Fair crowd. If this affected Etheridge at all, it's not apparent from her comeback, Breakdown. There are a couple of concessions to the late '90s, primarily in the presence of subdued, vaguely hip-hop-influenced rhythms that underpin some mid-tempo cuts, but Breakdown is the work of an artist who is assured and comfortable, meaning that she's not afraid to play straight-ahead music or to delve deep into her soul. Consequently, it's the most intimate album she's ever made. A by-product of this development is that the record isn't as visceral or immediate as her earlier work, and some of the songs need a few plays before they sink in completely. That may mean that some listeners will not have the patience to truly hear Breakdown for what it is -- a low-key but revealing record that is intimate even when it rocks the hardest. But those who do will discover that its best moments -- whether it's "Scarecrow," her moving tribute to hate-crime victim Matthew Shepard, or the nakedly autobiographical "Mama I'm Strange" -- find Etheridge exploring new, refreshingly honest territory that suits this subdued musical style quite well.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/5/1999
  • Label: Island
  • UPC: 731454651820
  • Catalog Number: 546518

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Breakdown (3:54)
  2. 2 Angels Would Fall (4:39)
  3. 3 Stronger Than Me (4:08)
  4. 4 Into the Dark (4:59)
  5. 5 Enough of Me (4:39)
  6. 6 Truth of the Heart (4:31)
  7. 7 Mama I'm Strange (4:29)
  8. 8 Scarecrow (5:21)
  9. 9 How Would I Know (4:15)
  10. 10 My Lover (5:45)
  11. 11 Sleep (7:10)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Melissa Etheridge Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Jim Keltner Drums
Kenny Aronoff Drums, Marimbas, Shaker
Jon Brion Guitar
Mark Browne Bass
Matt Chamberlain Drums
Steve Ferrone Percussion, Drums
Rami Jaffee Keyboards
Greg Leisz Guitar, Mandolin, Lap Steel Guitar, Pedals
Pino Palladino Bass
Patrick Warren Keyboards
Gota Yashiki Drum Loop
John Shanks Dulcimer, Guitar, Harp, Marimbas, Background Vocals
Brian Macleod Percussion, Drum Loop
Technical Credits
Melissa Etheridge Producer
Marc DeSisto Engineer
Greg Goldman Engineer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
John Shanks Producer
Scott Denton Cardew Artwork, Art Direction
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    FULL OF HEART

    I HAVE NEVER BEEN DISAPPOINTED IN ANY OF MELISSA'S MUSIC. HER MUSIC HAS A WAY TO MAKE ONE REMINISCE OF THAT LOST LOVED ONE THAT GOT AWAY. THIS C.D. IS FULL OF HEART FELT LYRIC'S BELLOWING OUT BY THIS ARTIST EXTRAORDINARY VOICE.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An Awsome Cd

    This cd is so great, i love it. I'm starting to relate to alot of the songs, expecially 'mama i'm strange', its a great song that reflects off the feeling of confussion. Its a great, mature, cd, you should all buy it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews