Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Indie-Rock Goddess: Whether Soft or Rocking, the Songs on Melissa Ferrick's Latest Are Deeply Heartfelt

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Indie-Rock Goddess: Whether Soft or Rocking, the Songs on Melissa Ferrick's Latest Are Deeply Heartfelt

Article excerpt

Listen Hard * Melissa Ferrick * Right On Records

Seven years after her brief alliance with Atlantic Records ended and knocked her back to grassroots status, Melissa Ferrick remains undaunted. She's still cranking out the kind of unbridled, from-the-gut acoustic rock that could (and should) make superstar counterpart Melissa Etheridge cringe with competitive envy.

The freedom of being an indie artist who isn't compelled to serve the big mainstream machine has served Ferrick quite well. Listen Hard, like her last six indie recordings, is far more creatively plush than anything she offered during her Atlantic-era bid for mainstream success. Ironically, these albums have also been notably more commercially viable. Go figure. In fact, Listen Hard crackles with the kind of lean pop hooks and taut, well-crafted melodies that currently fuel adult-pop radio.

Ferrick seems to stumble upon her marketability these days almost by accident. Listen Hard frequently plays like a series of intensely personal diary entries and letters set to music, not like a collection of songs intended for wide listening. The elegant "You," for example, is etched with restrained, often conversational vocals that seem more like internal thought rather than external performance. …

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