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Melissa Etheridge wasn't out of the closet when she released Yes I Am in 1993, yet it's hard not to notice the defiant acclamation in the album's title. This barely concealed sense of sexual identity seeps out from the lyrics, and it informs the music as well, which is perhaps the most confident she has ever been. It's also the most professional she's ever been (perhaps not a coincidence), as she belts out these unapologetically anthemic numbers with a sense of finesse that's suited to lifestyle newspaper pages, not rock & roll, thereby setting herself up for her bout with celebrity during the second half of the '90s. Yes I Am wouldn't have been as convincing if it wasn't so slick, though; her Springsteen-isms and Janis tributes are tempered by songs that work as album rock favorites, even if they aren't as epic or passionate as their inspirations. She may not have songs as great as she did the first time out – "Somebody Bring Me Some Water" remains her finest moment – but she has a sense of purpose and identity that suits her well.
After spending nearly nine months as a guest of the Texas penal system, veteran rocker David Crosby emerged from his incarceration sober and brimming with ideas that had previously been stunted due to decades of substance abuse. In many ways Oh Yes I Can (1989) – Crosby's second solo effort during his two-decade-plus career – is a musical rebuttal to his equally vital debut effort, If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971). Even the album's title appears to indicate his newly achieved success and freedom from the haze that so indelibly influenced the earlier compositions.