Friday, November 26, 2010

A Good Song That Never Made It As A Hit: "Nowhere To Go."

The Good: Socially conscious, Good vocals, Decent lyrics
The Bad: SHORT! Nothing unique.
The Basics: A disappointing presentation of a wonderful, if typical, Melissa Etheridge single, “Nowhere To Go” (the one-track) may be passed by.

It always surprises me what makes it as a hit. In recent years, it seems to take some real unfathomable combination of elements to get a socially-conscious song to become a popular hit. So, while The Black-Eyed Peas “Where’s The Love?” hit #1 and stayed there, songs like Melissa Etheridge’s “Nowhere To Go” completely flopped. It’s disappointing, though, because Etheridge uses the song to mix the personal and the social quite well. And I like the works of Melissa Etheridge, even Fearless Love (click here for that review!).

There are two versions of the “Nowhere To Go” single, the commercially available one (with multiple tracks) and the radio-station one which has just the single, as presented on the album Your Little Secret. This review is of the radio-release one-track, which has since filtered into the secondary market. It is not worth picking up, despite the quality of the song.

“Nowhere To Go” is a 5:53 single written by Melissa Etheridge which analogizes being homeless with being full of unrequited desire (or being dumped, depending on the interpretation) and the comparison works quite nicely, but there is a version of the single which has a remix and another track to it which offers a much better value than this one. Etheridge wrote the song, provided the lead vocals and plays guitar on the song. She also co-produced the track.

This song is very much a typical Melissa Etheridge song with has a light rock quality to it, despite the fact that all of the vocals may be easily understood. The song is a mid-tempo, socially-conscious ballad and it is not exactly dancing music, it’s music to listen to while driving away, contemplating your life. It is very much a typical mid-90s guitar/bass/drums track and the tune is not one that sticks in the listener’s head after they are done listening to it.

Vocally, “Nowhere To Go” features Etheridge’s trademark somewhat raspy vocals which make all of her lines easily understood. She manages to get absolutely haunting for the oft repeated final line of the song. Etheridge sings in a slightly lower register than many of her counterparts in the female vocalist world.

Poetically, “Nowhere To Go” absolutely works. Etheridge has an amazing sense of imagery with lines like “Past the Wal-Mart and the prison / Down by the old V.A. / Just my jeans and my t-shirt / And my blue Chevrolet / It's Saturday night / Feels like everything's wrong / I've got some strawberry wine / I wanna get you alone / Down by the muddy water / Of the mighty Mo / In an old abandoned box car / Will I ever know / Dance with me forever / This moment is divine / I'm so close to heaven / This hell is not mine.” The song is melodic and the sense of being alone truly resonates from it. Etheridge once again proves herself to be a pretty incredible poet.

Ultimately, though, because there are better versions of this single on the market, I could not recommend it and because Your Little Secret may often be found dirt cheap, this single looks cheap by comparison. “Nowhere To Go” might be a smart, socially aware song, but this is not the way to get it.

For other singles, please check out my reviews of:
Baby One More Time . . . - Britney Spears
Right Beside You - Sophie B. Hawkins
Don't Look Back In Anger - Oasis


For other music reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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