Melissa Etheridge is la-la-la-ing her way from hell’s breast cancer highway to a profound awakening. Quite literally. On “Message to Myself,” the first gleeful single from her ninth studio album “The Awakening,” due Sept. 25, Etheridge sheds regret for some earth-shattering choices – of which she says, “I’m sending out a message to myself, so that when I hear it on the radio, I will know that I am fine, I will know that I am loved.” The tune eases from a barely audible, static-sounding intro to a powerful, endearing testament of perseverance. If anyone knows about that, it’s Etheridge, who underwent chemotherapy to cure cancer and who, years before, fell hard from a torn relationship with ex Julie Cypher and poured her ruined self into “Skin.” Now, though, the rocker clearly basks in bright strobe lights with twins and a seemingly-stable relationship with Tammy Lynn Michaels (see cute Melissa/Tammy kiss in the video) – and the tune gleams with sugary sheen. Melodically, “Message to Myself” shines with a pleasing, catchy chorus that adult radio will eat up. Sure, it’s missing the Etheridge edge – not to mention that walloping growl – especially evident on earlier tear-it-up ditties (like “Bring Me Some Water” and “I’m The Only One”). But who can fault a perky pop jam that’s every bit a memo to the musician as it is to her dedicated queer clique?
– Chris Azzopardi