Released: July 10, 2001
During the dark days of the singer's split from Julie Cypher, her companion of 12 years, Melissa Etheridge retreated to her home studio to pen songs lit from within with her searing pain and confusion. From those heart-wrenching sessions comes arguably Etheridge's finest work. She vents and rages and all but spits on her Tony Llama boots, giving these 10 songs a depth and grit that she only hinted at in her prior six albums. And those early albums were plenty gritty. But early tunes such as "Come to My Window," and "Yes I Am" don't approach the naked vulnerability heard here--even though the breakup was hinted at in "Stronger Than Me," on 1999's Breakdown.
Skin peels back layers of Etheridge's pain and addresses her personal melodrama in such a compelling way that her despair is transmuted into true art, as she takes the listener through the stages of grief and recovery. And what a journey, beginning with the bristling "Lover Please" ("Didn't I love you right / Then tell me where are you going dress ed to kill tonight? / Oh, this one's gonna hurt like hell") and ending with the stirring "Heal Me," which features background vocals by famous pals Laura Dern and Meg Ryan. That's almost all the help she has on the record; Etheridge plays almost all the instruments and penned all the songs. But, ultimately, Skin is the sound of one heart breaking.
--Jaan Uhelszki - amazon.com