- 31 Jul 01
If sweat beads and airbrushed, anaesthetised rock is your thing, then Skin will set your hair on end. If on the other hand, you hanker for a sound that’s a touch more thoughtful, save your sheckels for Bruce or Ani.
She may have been a sometime symbol of sexual identity (and let’s face it, in a music world that’s buoyed by the presence of so many male gay icons, lesbian flagbearers are thin on the ground), but scratch the epidermis, and Melissa Etheridge is as cosily conservative as Ross Perot or Colin Powell.
She’s always been the doyenne of the big guitar sound, augmented by just a tincture of dust bowl sensibility and a spoonful of harmonica ‘n’ drum lines to bolster and buffer where necessary. Skin is certainly Etheridge trying hard to jettison the scaffolding of old. Working for the first time without her band, she wrote, recorded and played everything bar some drum and bass tracks here.
‘I Want To Be In Love’ carries traces of her earlier writing, her ear for pinprick accuracy still occasionally intact. This is emotional nakedness devoid of the maudlin baggage that drags so much of the rest of the collection down into the mire of self-flagellation.