By Dan Pavelich
The Medicine Show (Concord)
Melissa Etheridge returns with a fiery eleven-song set, guaranteed to please long-time fans. One of her most-adventurous efforts to date, it mixes styles, delivery and tempo, to create a record that was surely conceived as a whole, and should be listened to accordingly.
The title track is a grinding war chant, bidding the listener, “Let’s all go to the medicine show.” Giving a subtle nod to Led Zeppelin, “Shaking” contemplates personal fear and how it affects our daily decisions, big and small. “Here Comes The Pain” is a pretty ballad, which will undoubtedly be covered by many other artists. Highly recommended.
American Rock ’n’ Roll (BMG)
Before I even reviewed this, I had a bit of Don Felder baggage I was carrying around. Having seen the former Eagles’ guitarist performing live on YouTube over the past few years, it was painfully-obvious that he was using autotune. It wasn’t a subtle autotune, either, he sounded like a sterile robot. The strange thing is, I caught him on Howard Stern when his book came out a few years ago, and he wasn’t singing with the digital crutch. He was doing just fine without it.
All that being said, on his vocal tracks on this record, the autotune is a bit more subtle, but I can hear it, which distracts me to no end. It’s a pity, too, because some of these songs stand pretty strong in the face of no recent, new Eagles’ tunes. I’m left feeling a little disappointed, although I’m not sure the diehard fan would agree with my summation.
100% Fresh (Warner Bros.)
For me, comedian Adam Sandler is okay in small doses. After about ten minutes of his
stand-up act, I’m ready to bail. Lampooning the typical eco-dad in “Electric Car” and “Tesla,” Sandler is right on the money, admitting that he’s not immune from societal trends himself. Likewise, as a lot of his audience demographic is aging into parental caregiving, “Grandma’s Roommate,” an ode to uncomfortable small talk, hits home.
Some of the bits like “Alcoholic Lawyer” and “Uber Driver” fall a little flat, and it feels like Sandler is just shooting fish in a barrel and not pushing himself too hard as a comedian. This fifty-five bit outing could’ve been whittled down some, which would have made for a funnier over-all listen.
Love Is Te Quiero (Independent)
Cuban-American singer Alina Celeste, a native of Miami, Florida, expresses her desire to teach children and families in a friendly, bi-lingual way. Celeste’s personality bubbles through these songs like a next-door neighbor knocking on your screen door to see if you’d like to come out and play.
My fave of the set is “Vaca Lechera,” in which she tells the tale of a a magic milking cow, possessed of the power to produce milkshakes when milked. It’s a perfect illustration of how she picks subjects that are perfectly inline with what so many kids have the imagination to think about. It’s never too early to get the wee ones considering a second language, and “Love Is Te Quiero” is a great place to start.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd/The Traveler (Concord)
Kirk Franklin/Long Live Love (RCA)
Death Angel/Humanicide (Nuclear Blast)
Bow Wow/Wanted (Sony)
CD’s Provided By CD-DVD-Games Warehouse, 3717 80th Street, Kenosha, Wi, 53142,