Melissa Ferrick

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Melissa Ferrick has been around for several years, but emotionally she still seems like a twenty-something, with the seesaw of emotion characterized by youth rather than maturity. That works here and there -- after all, who wants to grow up and take responsibility for everything, especially in rock & roll? -- but a whole album of it becomes a little worrying. She's a fair guitarist, not too big on subtlety (although subtlety has never been a characteristic of hers; the heart and soul have always been firmly on the sleeve), and her accomplices here do little to tone things down, although they keep it all under control. The angst factor is high ("Marie in the Middle" and "Burn This Guitar," for example), but there is some joy, as on "Let's Fly," with its hopeful message. This is a professional album, as well it should be, but it's becoming harder and harder to see Ferrick as a truly distinctive talent -- her early burst of individuality seems to have evaporated.

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