If ever there was a perfect breakup album, this is it. Skin is Melissa Etheridge's first album since she split with her long-term partner and it takes you on a tour of the hurt, healing, and the journey of making sense of it all. Travel through the pain, longing, and lamenting along with Etheridge herself as she goes "looking for a little salvation." In her own raw, strength-of-heart style and that husky voice of hers, Etheridge sings about the long, trying process that one usually undergoes in order to find the answers, forgiveness, and clues about losing and staying in the game of love. The opening track, "Lover Please," is an aggressive tune where your heroine, wounded heart in hand, sings with true emotion, asking, "Didn't I love you right?" On the track "The Prison," Etheridge sings in a quavering and romantic voice about her torment, while she is "trying to get out of my skin." Etheridge's harmonica playing on this track is so potent, it makes it all the more harder to swallow. Yet as the songs progress, so does Etheridge's strength. Known for her sensibility for raw emotion, Etheridge delivers nothing less. And on the nostalgic track "Walking on Water," you can sense that she is gaining some footing on her pain and beginning to pick herself up again. But the ballad-like "Down to One" knocks your heart out with one whack as she croons, "my heart is a traitor." Back to square one. The album climaxes and Etheridge sorts through her demons with simple, heart-felt lyrics that hit the spot right through to the truth. Etheridge gets funky on the groovy track "Goodnight" and the fresh-sounding, freewheelin' "I Want to Be in Love." But it is her unbridled honesty that drives this album right into your gut. Etheridge is not alone in her plight through anger, confusion, yearnings for forgiveness, acceptance, and the process of starting over. She reveals the depth of her pain on the dark track "Heal Me." Like love, this album simply leaves that infamously ambiguous mystery lingering in the air: Why do people pay so much for love? And Etheridge does it with such conviction, you cannot help but listen closely.
AllMusic Review by Kerry L. Smith