Melissa Etheridge proves she’s not just another girl with a guitar in the first seconds of Never Enough‘s opener, ”Ain’t It Heavy”: Coming on full throttle, she recalls the young, extraordinary Rod Stewart — she’s got the same brassy warmth. Here, that warmth charges through a broader range of styles than on her last album, 1989’s Brave and Crazy. Etheridge and her band sound just as comfortable on the percolating dance track ”2001” as they do on the fiercely passionate rocker ”It’s for You” — as if to say: What’s wrong with using a drum machine when you can also create shadings with an electric guitar? The lyrics are sometimes a half step away from being mawkishly sensitive. Lines like ”Shards of past relations/Splintering my skin” could have been cribbed from a teenager’s diary. But her dusky, vinaigrette voice can turn the plainest words into an eloquent novelette, invoking truths lyrics alone can’t reach. B+
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