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My Skin Lyrics

Artist: Natalie Merchant
Album: Ophelia

Take a look at my body
Look at my hands
There's so much here that I don't understand
Your face say these promises
Whispered like prayers
I don't need them
Because I've been treated so wrong
I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable
Well content loves the silence
It thrives in the dark
With fine winding tendrils
That strangle the heart
They say that promises sweeten the blow
But I don't need them, no
I don't need them
I've been treated so wrong
I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable
I'm the slow dying flower
In the frost killing hour
Sweet turning sour anduntouchable
Oh, I need the darkness
The sweetness
The sadness
The weakness
Oh, I need this
I need a lullaby
A kiss good night
Angel sweet love of my life
Oh, I need this
I'm the slow dying flower
In the frost killing hour
Sweet turning sour anduntouchable
Do you remember the way that you touched me before
All the trembling sweetness I loved and adored
Your face saying promised whispered like prayers
I don't need them
Oh, I need the darkness
The sweetness
The sadness
The weakness
Oh, I need this
I need a lullaby
A kiss good night
Angel sweet love of my life
Oh, I need this
Well is it dark enough
Can you see me
Do you want me
Can you reach me
Oh, I'm leaving
You better shut your mouth
And hold your breath
And kiss me now
And catch your death
Oh, I mean this
Oh, I mean this
Comments/Interpretations
by MEGGII on 5/16/2008 7:27am
THIS SONG IS BEAUTIFUL.
END OF. X
by Ashley on 5/22/2008 6:52am
I think this song is kind of depressing. I really like it though. I think shes singing about her boyfriend or husband. I love the sound of the piano keys!
by Helen on 5/29/2008 12:06pm
It is very nice song. I like the sound of the piano.
by Cia on 5/31/2008 2:52am
What she is talking about is abuse. Wether it be her or someone else.
"They say that promises sweeten the blow"
Abusers usually make promises or give gifts after beating their lover or child.
"Content loves the silence" means that she feels content being silent or it will happen again.
The melody is depressing but its actually inspiring because she does realize she needs to leave.
by Allison on 6/1/2008 11:07pm
It is a sad song, and gets me crying... I adore the violin and her vocal parts!
by Desdemona on 6/2/2008 12:42pm
Fabulously sad song. Great piano, Great voice. I think it suits Professor McGonagall out of Harry Potter, i'm sure she has so much that she hides.
by nick on 6/7/2008 8:21pm
i'm the jack in the box that went to one of your shows,;what does catch your death mean?
by lucy on 6/8/2008 7:55am
I have never thought of this song as abuse.
I always just presumed she was speaking of how she felt unable to love as she had before but got hurt in the process of.
This song is inspiring and I have tought myself how to play it on the piano.
Life is sweet and Kind and Generous are also good songs.
Anyone else have any ideas on what this song is about?
by Sam on 6/12/2008 9:36am
I read that it was about loosing love and then finding through lonliness, into comfort and then new love.
by vanessa on 6/12/2008 9:45am
This song is very good :* and lovely
by aymee on 6/24/2008 12:20am
haha u guyss r a lil wrong.. this song is about anorexia or an eating disorder most likely anorexia
reread it and think about it
promises are to be thin
by ally on 6/24/2008 7:10am
I think it relates perfectly to the way bells feels about edward in the book 'new moon' by stephenie meyer, the sequal to'twilight'. Both amazing books. Read them all!
by Michaela =D on 6/26/2008 6:12pm
Love this song. Its so emotional. I think it could mean many things. Like, she wants us to use our imaginations to link the lyrics with our own lives.
by Johno on 6/27/2008 6:01pm
According to the always right Wikipedia... "My Skin" is a Natalie Merchant song from her second solo album Ophelia. The song's theme appears to be the story of a woman whose husband has fallen out of love with her, the different emotions she feels and her final resolution to leave him.
by Suzanne on 7/11/2008 11:40am
I think this is about a lover dying and speaking to her other lover that will live on without her... just my interpretation tho.
by Emily on 7/17/2008 6:15pm
Beautiful song, I love the piano's tones. I agree, it sounds like it's about abuse and being hurt.
by Nia on 7/21/2008 8:05pm
This song is honestly, I think the saddest song I've ever heard. The piano sounds so nice, and her voice, it's I think what really makes it amazing, and even though I didn't understand this before, I think I understand now when they mean that someone's voice shows their feelings. Her voice in this song really just makes it stand out. And I was really surprised and OMGed when someone said that it related to Twilight because for me it did too, except I was hearing it in the third book, Eclipse, when

*SPOILER*

Bella tells her feelings to Jacob, and they kiss

*END SPOILER*

and that just got me so (I admit) disappointed with Bella I just put this on replay and cried. It wasn't until later that I REALLY heard it. Gah. Too long post.
by Amber on 7/21/2008 8:39pm
i have been molested and had so many things happen and this so always makes me cry. i told my mum i want her to have this at my funeral because it explains me.
by Sydney on 7/22/2008 4:48pm
I definitely thought of this song during New Moon (twilight saga), during her zombie like state.

When she talked about just going through the motions and feeling like the whole was ripping itself wider and wider.

by Rubii on 8/4/2008 6:48am
This song makes me cry so hard. It's beautiful. I have an eating disorder and I can relate the lyrics to how I feel. It was also used a few times on hollyoaks with the hannah ashworth anorexic storyline. I don't think it is about eating disorders though. x
by Emma on 8/11/2008 7:53am
I don't think it needs to be about anything specific. Like being abused or someone falling out of love. It's just about feeling pain inside and felling trapped and having nowhere to turn. But at the same time you don't want to change it because it's what you've always know and if it goes away then your whole world will be exposed and fall apart.
by Alyssa on 8/21/2008 12:55am
This song is sooo beautiful! It makes me cry every time!! I think it is about how her boyfriend/husband promised her everything, and he didn't keep the promise...It's an amazing song! I totally freaked when i read that someone related it to Twilight because it is perfect! I love the vocals and the piano!
by Jim on 8/31/2008 10:43pm
It doesn't really matter what the true meaning of the song is, her voice alone is simply amazing, coupled with the music the song can be what you make it. To me it puts me in a different place and time that just lets me imagine whatever I want.
by faster on 10/2/2008 11:54am
this is a song from one woman to another
by coco on 10/7/2008 10:44am
this song makes me cry
by June on 10/12/2008 9:06pm
I couldn't agree with you more Faster. What i gorgeous song and what a gorgeous soul she has!
by Plunta on 10/14/2008 4:13am
This song is definately not about abuse...It's about...When you love someone and give them your heart and soul, but they don't give anything back. Lots of us women do it (Men too, they just don't admit it to their male friends.) She gets promises but no comfort...No Sweetness, Openess, sadness to share, nothing to share...just words to keep her around. She threatens him at the end, not actually leaving, still thinking about kissing him...It is the saddest, most heart-wrenching song, ever!
by cassidyxrawr on 10/19/2008 6:07pm
this song, depresses me.
but i love it <33
by Bogga on 10/22/2008 10:06am
This song has sooo much meaning. A very beautiful song, i like depressing songs once in a while, because everyone needs to be sad sometimes. And it kind of makes you a little bit sad:P
by Bert on 10/27/2008 11:02am
wow the vocals at the beggining of the song. My god thats so sad and beatiful and the piano and the violin wow
by Megnolia on 11/14/2008 12:40am
It's about Ophelia and Hamlet isn't it?
by xdaisy on 11/15/2008 12:39am
It's about abuse, from my viewpoint anyways. And no matter what you think it is about, it revolves around hurt. I love this song, it helps me through the almost unbearable patches that so frequently bloom their ugly thorn covered flowers into my life. And yes, sadness can also be a beautiful gift, because it makes us settle down and think, instead of being euphoric all the time. :)
by Alma on 11/27/2008 12:34pm
Just a sidenote:
"Contempt", not "content" loves the silence and "Your face saving promises", not "Your face say these promises." Before attempting to analyze the lyrics of a song, it's best to make sure they are the correct ones. Checking the official site of the artist solves this problem.
by attackofthespoons on 12/6/2008 9:00am
i keep seeing this on Brooke Davis vids, especially after she got.. well.. beaten. and yeah. It makes me think of that. And i'm sad.
by pele0822 on 12/14/2008 12:48pm
The comments that suggest the song is about physical abuse might be valid, although at times we neglect emotional abuse as an equally distressing concept. For example, the whispered and face-saving promises that soften the blow can be taken concretely and literally or can be assumed more formally as a figurative reference to any pain resulting from internalized dissonance - whatever the external source. In any event... beautifully articulated.
by elle on 12/15/2008 7:11pm
i believe this song is about an abusive boyfriend as well. i think she's trying to break free of him, but obviously is having trouble and can't.

it's such a good song, there should be more like this in the world.
by jamie on 12/21/2008 7:32pm
this song is about bulimia and how her husband or boyfreind dosent love her as much anymore because of it
by kels on 1/8/2009 1:58pm
i have always lovd this song, but like some of the others it reminds me soo much of twlight, the second book when edward leaves her and she misses him she needs his kiss.
she needs his lullabye.
she need the darkness.
it is so ironic the way it fits.
by michaela on 1/16/2009 8:02pm
this song reminds me of cameron from house md. there's this amazing video on youtube called "Allison Cameron - As if I'm becoming Untouchable"
go check it out.
by anon on 1/18/2009 3:17pm
I seem to recall an interview with Ms. Merchant at the time of Ophelia's release that My Skin was "about" a woman suffering from cancer. The lyrics express her distress and feelings of alienation as her husband increasingly sees her only as her disease. He talks to her differently now, touches her differently now, ever aware of the presence of the disease. Anyone else remember this?
by Annie on 1/27/2009 4:01pm
It's not "content" it's contempt.

Contempt loves the silence, it thrives in the dark...

sheesh people.
by melanie on 2/11/2009 11:16am
it suites (i dont mean to be laim) intwilight the really famous part 2 of it (new moon) when the boy leaves the girl.
by Spaz on 2/11/2009 10:42pm
I luv the song! BEAUTIFUL PIANO! But I've thought that the name should be: 'Untouchable' Also, just to throw out there...if ur looking for a really great song, try: 'Beauty From Pain' by Superchic[k] p.s. sorry if any spelling was off, im a horrible speller!
by Livia on 2/17/2009 5:21pm
I did this song for my town's annual talent show and everyone was crying because my town's mayor had just been molested. I won 1 prize, though. (The mayor was a judge)
by lalalla on 2/26/2009 9:06pm
great song for new moon
by lesly on 4/4/2009 10:22pm
in harry potter they play that song on you tube and talks about how hermione gets pregnant
by Jasmine on 4/6/2009 1:20pm
This song reminds me of the character River Tam from the TV series Firefly. Very fitting for her.
by Daphne on 4/18/2009 9:43pm
cool song
by Hope on 4/19/2009 6:35am
its actually "contempt" loves the silence
by on 5/16/2009 12:28pm
by Tiffany on 6/8/2009 6:47am
I read on Wikipedia it's about a husband who has cheated on his wife.
by bella on 6/10/2009 9:19am
i love this song...its so beautiful
by lalaine on 6/19/2009 8:00pm
i love this song..

the lyrics, the melody, the vocals, everything!

i saw a great fanmade newmoon trailer with this song..

it's really great!

i think it also fits Melanie & Wanderer in The Host.. :)
by tanisha on 7/15/2009 1:26am
i love to listen to this song whenever i'm upset.. :D
by sam on 8/1/2009 12:21pm
this song reminds me of my eating disorder so much, it makes me really sad. but puts the struggling and pain into perspective for others..
by cris on 8/7/2009 4:23pm
me encanta esta canción.
by anon2 on 8/14/2009 12:26am
First of all, Wikipedia is NOT a reliable source of information--anyone can go in an change whatever is put on there. I can see where this song could be about abuse (both mental and physical) as well as an incurable disease--cancer included.
by LBowes on 8/18/2009 11:17am
This song is about abuse and its effects on ones soul. She has been treated wrong--and treated for the effects for so long (by his condescending promises). Also, she may be saying she doesn't need his promises to stay, but his sweetness, a lullaby,a kiss goodnight; him, the way he had once been. There are different forms of abuse--there is emotional abuse, and neglect. She (the singer-writer) is dark, she is hurting, she is brooding. She's turned it all inward--making her untouchable, but she wants to be touched--but, he won't--so, she's leaving before her inward turmoil spills out to kill either herself, or her lover. This song is hauntingly gorgeous in every way--the lyrics match the music perfectly--as well as ones mood.
by Ashley on 11/2/2009 10:58pm
Ok, I LOVE Twilight, don't get me wrong, I'm obsessed, but how in the HELL can any of you believe it's similar to any of the books?! First, Edward NEVER told Bella she was ugly...yes, he lied to her about not loving her in New Moon, but this song is much deeper than that. AND, Bella never left Edward. She would super glue herself to him if she could.

This song is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and I hope the rumors of a new album in the near future is true.
by navyluvr08 on 11/20/2009 5:49pm
kinda of sad when u relate it to urself....i luv it!
by maeg on 12/3/2009 7:46pm
i thought this song is about self abuse...like an eating disorder. how you fall into your disease and feel utterly untouchable and want to crawl out of your skin.
by Jen on 12/4/2009 1:25pm
I think that it's...."your face saving promises", instead of "face say these promises."

Beautiful song. Has been one of my favorites for years...
by Suger on 1/1/2010 9:45pm
I agree with the one who mentioned the eating disorder.

Its like a message I would send to the one I love, to show him the pain I'm feeling right now.. this is my favorite song, I love it so much.
by Jac on 1/17/2010 6:48pm
This song was played when Dana on The L Word dies from complications due to breast cancer and her lover walks up and sees her dying through the hospital window. I will always think of that when I hear this song. Very beautifully written and the piano is perfect.
by Tay on 2/12/2010 11:22am
I love this song. The piano part is so beautiful! I need to teach myself this song.
by Shell on 2/14/2010 5:23pm
I'm a Merlin fan and i've just watch this tribute with this song in it...it really matches with Merlin especially after series 2 as he loses so many people.
by MikeyJ on 2/20/2010 12:01am
This is the most hauntingly beautiful song I have ever heard. It always brings me to tears. And since the first time I ever heard it was in the commercial for the Humane Society, it brings to mind the hundreds of thousand of animals who are abused and abandoned and needing loving homes. Please rescue an animal today!
by Jerona on 9/2/2010 1:30pm
actually.. I think this song is about a love/hate relationship where the guy treats her badly, not necessarily abuse though, but she can't leave because she loves and needs him.
First she says I need this, and then 'I don't need this'.
I don't think she leaves in the end like someone suggests cause it says 'kiss me now'.
by KayC on 11/15/2010 2:37am
i have an eating disorder and i can relate to a lot of the lyrics in this song, but i think i remember the interview that anon mentioned (above) where the song is "about" a woman with cancer

i honestly think that no matter what the song is actually about, it just means different things to everybody, based on who they are and their experiences. that's really part of why it's such a beautiful song, that it can speak to so many people on that kind of level <3
by cactus on 11/18/2010 3:16pm
I forgot I had this album until they used this song in an animal abuse ad for a certain charity(not that I don't want to give the charity props, I honestly just can't remember if it was HSUS or ASPCA!) What a blessing to remember though...1 thing though, I always thought she was saying" you're face saving promises..."
by JOhn on 12/5/2010 5:42pm
this song has alot of meanings one of them being abuse it doesnt have one meaning.
by cactus on 1/4/2011 5:10pm
To Anon- thank you for that! I look at this song so differently now. I never even saw it as abuse to begin with, but for me, more personally, as a person with mental illness trying to make a relationship work, bc that's MY life. Anyway its even more sad for me now
by Spirit on 1/14/2011 7:23am
I think it suits Sirius Black from Harry Potter. It's so sad.....Describes the way he was treated.
by cezz on 1/17/2011 11:32am
heya listen to the song kiss the rain and then read the part out of new moon where edward leaves bella in the forest listen to both kiss the rain and that part of the book together and you will b cryin
by Dee on 3/5/2011 11:49pm
I love this song and the beautiful cello parts.
by A/D/L on 3/28/2011 5:35am
I've never seen this as abuse related though i can see how it fits....ive always thought of it as she had skin cancer(explaining why the title is 'my skin') and he's promising things will be alright while she's dying and she knows its a lie but he keeps saying thoes 'face saving promises'
The line 'ive been treated so long' could be the cancer treatment shes reciving
'ive been treated so wrong' as if everyones treating her diffrently
then 'as if im becoming untouchable' everyones backing away as if touching her would infect them and that would also explain the last part
'You better shut your mouth
And hold your breath
And kiss me now
And catch your death'
as if shes forcing him to or he's forcing himself because she's going to die soon which would be the 'oh im leaving' part
thats just my 2 cents worth :)
by Amparo Martínez on 11/12/2011 5:32pm
Well, I think it suits Ophelia, from 'Hamlet', really. Not just that Hamlet ends up abandoning her and treating her like crap, but his brother is out too. And his father has died. She's all alone. And she goes mad. It's just an interpretation! (:


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