Home Read Classic Album Review: Melissa Etheridge | Skin

Classic Album Review: Melissa Etheridge | Skin

The singer-songwriter's personal baggage overshadows her strong musical strides.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Frankly, I know way more about Melissa Etheridge — her sexual orientation, her abusive childhood, her romantic comings and goings, even her choice of sperm donor for her damn kids — than anybody really needs to know.

All that unrequired foreknowledge can’t help but colour the way you listen to Skin, her confessional new album. Sitting through this song cycle that chronicles the death of a love affair, the mourning that follows and the spiritual journey toward healing and romantic rebirth, it’s impossible not to assume it’s all about Etheridge’s breakup with Julie Cypher. And that’s too bad — if only because all that baggage overshadows the fact that Etheridge has made some decent musical strides here, contemporizing her earthy roots-pop sound by delving more into loops, samples and trancy grooves. But nothing can disguise the fact that Skin is a mostly sombre, single-minded disc, disappointingly lacking in the big hooks and anthemic choruses Etheridge does so well. But hey, at least David Crosby wasn’t in on it.