Don't let the tabloid rumors cloud your thoughts about Melissa Etheridge and her music.

Even though the 49-year old cancer survivor has lately made the rounds on "The View" and other talk shows while her longtime partner publicly talks about their breakup, Etheridge's new album, "Fearless Love," deserves to be heard on its own terms.

"This album had to be about the songs," Etheridge said in a press statement about her 10th studio album. "Everything is either fear or love. As I started writing, the working title of the album was 'Songs of Love and Fear' because each song had an ingredient of love and fear, and the battle between the two."

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Little did Etheridge likely know that soon after her album was released in April her breakup with her longtime partner would put her on many publications' front pages. The public throwdown also put the music squarely in the middle of the public breakup. Ex Tammy Lynn Michaels contended the album's songs are Etheridge's way of breaking up with her. Etheridge said the album's songs sprang from her reassessment of life during and after cancer.

Of course some of those reflections on life don't just involve her but her children as well.

That's clear in songs such as "Indiana," about a girl who overcomes a difficult childhood, and "The Wanting of You," about a girl who fears the life-changing choices she made.

"I can't help but be influenced now by my children. I said I was thinking of calling the album 'Songs of Love and Fear,' and my daughter said, 'No mom, that's way too long,' " Etheridge said.

After being told by her daughter that Taylor Swift had already called her album "Fearless," Etheridge named the album "Fearless Love" and wrote the song to accompany it.

Whatever you think of the album's title, the music is all Etheridge, with scorching guitar riffs and heavy rock. Etheridge said the sound came about because of her professional partnership with John Shanks, who played guitar on the album and produced it.

"I hadn't done a whole project with him since 'Breakdown,' so I called him up and said, 'John, I want a whole album, the way great rock 'n' roll groups used to do it where they would go away, live together, and give their time and energy just to the music.'"

The bottom line -- the magic happened. "Fearless Love" is Etheridge at her rocking best.