Skin (Joy Crookes album)

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Joy Crookes - Skin.png
Studio album by
Released15 October 2021 (2021-10-15)
  • Sony
  • Insanity
  • Speakerbox
Joy Crookes chronology
Singles from Skin
  1. "Feet Don't Fail Me Now"
    Released: 19 June 2021
  2. "Skin"
    Released: 6 August 2021
  3. "When You Were Mine"
    Released: 25 August 2021
  4. "Trouble"
    Released: 12 October 2021

Skin is the debut studio album by British singer-songwriter Joy Crookes, released through Insanity Records on 15 October 2021.[1][2][3][4] The album has spawned four singles, including "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" and "When You Were Mine", both of which reached number one on the UK Asian Top 40 chart.

Primarily a modern soul-jazz record led by orchestral string arrangements, Skin is an "autobiographical body of work" inspired by Crookes' heritage and identity, as well as her experiences of young adulthood and heartbreak. The album was met with widespread acclaim upon release, with critics praising the subject matter, production and Crookes' vocal performance.

Background and release[edit]

At the 2020 Brit Awards, Joy Crookes was nominated for the Rising Star Award, which predicts the biggest upcoming British musicians.[5] In September of that year, she gained moderate mainstream attention with the release of her cover version of The Wannadies' 1994 single "You & Me Song", which was featured in an O2 TV advertisement,[6] consequently entering both the UK Singles Downloads and the UK Singles Sales charts.[7][8] In June 2021, Crookes released the single "Feet Don't Fail Me Now" and its accompanying music video.[9] The track debuted atop the UK Asian Music Top 40 chart,[10] while the music video was nominated for Best Pop Video - UK, Best Wardrobe Styling in a Video and Best Hair & Makeup in a Video at the 2021 UK Music Video Awards.[11]

In August 2021, Crookes announced the release of Skin, and released its title track alongside a music video as the second single.[2] "When You Were Mine" was released later that month as the third single and reached number one on the UK Asian Top 40.[12] Its accompanying music video was released in early October 2021.[13] "Trouble" was released as the fourth single on 13 October 2021, two days before the release of the album.[14]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

Described by Clash as "orchestral soul-jazz",[15] Skin is primarily a modern soul[16] record with elements of R&B,[16][15] jazz,[15] pop,[16] neo-soul[15] and trip-hop,[17][18] and is characterized by its orchestral string arrangements.[17][15] There are also a number of piano ballads on the album.[17] Inspired largely by her own British-Irish-Bangladeshi heritage,[19] Crookes lyrically explores themes of young adulthood,[16] heartbreak,[16] and identity.[20][15] In a post on social media, Crookes wrote "This is the proudest work I have made to date. It is an autobiographical body of work, the album consists of songs I wrote when I was 15 up until 22. This is an album about my identity."[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The Guardian[18]
The Times[23]

Skin received widespread acclaim in reviews from contemporary music critics upon release. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from professional publications, the album has an average score of 89, based on 4 reviews.[21]

DIY rated the album five out of five stars and described it as "a rich, varied and considered body of work [...] worthy of elevating the singer into the realm of Britain's classiest chart-bothering talents", noting that it "does everything a debut should, dipping into multiple pools but uniting them all with a consistent outlook and a clear voice."[22] Apart from praising its sociopolitical subject matter, Alim Kheraj of The Guardian described the record as "vibrant, urgent and brimming with life", and wrote that "if the point of a debut album is getting to know an artist, then Skin is a masterclass."[24] Writing for NME, Sophie Williams noted that it "rises from the most intimate pockets of Crookes's life: the emotional turmoil around growing up, heartbreak, forgiveness, and relationships that don’t offer the sanctuary they promise."[16] In a review for Clash, Hannah Browne described Skin as "a candid, soulful exploration of identity" with "13 smooth jams [that] showcase Joy Crookes not only as a vocalist or candid writer but as the new face of British soul."[15]

Blessed with the kind of earthy, jazzy vocals that immediately ground her songs with brevity and presence, [Crookes] communicates a community's worth of life lessons in thirteen songs. Stapled together with catchy piano riffs, brassy interjections and soaring string sections, Skin proves Crookes a competent producer, singer, songwriter, and overall artist. [...] She's established a strong musical identity, an introspective yet witty voice, and some important messages.

— Alex Rigotti in a review of Skin for Gigwise[17]

Track listing[edit]

Skin track listing
1."I Don't Mind"
2."19th Floor"Blue May3:09
  • Blue May
  • Sam Beste[c]
  • Crookes
  • Lattimer
  • Barney Lister
  • Blue May
  • Lister[c]
5."When You Were Mine"
6."To Lose Someone"
Blue May4:10
7."Unlearn You"
  • Crookes
  • Glen Roberts
  • Lattimer
  • Blue May
  • Lattimer
  • Blue May
  • Crookes
  • Tev'n[c]
9."Feet Don't Fail Me Now"
  • Blue May
  • Lister
10."Wild Jasmine"
  • Crookes
  • Nathaniel Warner
  • Ari PenSmith
  • Alexander Blake
Blue May3:35
Blue May2:58
Blue May4:42
13."Theek Ache"
  • Crookes
  • Lattimer
  • Bhattacharya
  • Blue May
  • Tev'n[c]
Total length:42:44


Chart performance for Skin
Chart (2021) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[25] 99
French Albums (SNEP)[26] 114
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[27] 41
Irish Albums (OCC)[28] 26
Scottish Albums (OCC)[29] 10
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 47
UK Albums (OCC)[31] 5


  1. ^ Rugoff, Lazlo (6 August 2021). "Joy Crookes announces debut album, Skin". The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b Hakimian, Rob (6 August 2021). "Joy Crookes offers reassurance and hope with the stately "Skin", announces debut album". Beats Per Minute. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  3. ^ Murray, Robin (6 August 2021). "Joy Crookes Announces Debut Album 'Skin'". Clash. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  4. ^ Kenneally, Cerys (6 August 2021). "Joy Crookes announces debut album with title-track "Skin"". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  5. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (27 November 2019). "Celeste, Beabadoobee and Joy Crookes nominated for Brits rising star award". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  6. ^ "Joy Crookes soundtracks O2's new 'You & Me' TV advert". Sony Music UK. 15 September 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Official Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  9. ^ Smith, Niall (19 June 2021). "Joy Crookes Shares Visuals For New Single "Feet Don't Fail Me Now"". Complex. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Asian Music Chart Top 40: 17 September 2021". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "UK Music Video Awards 2021 nominations revealed". Shots. 29 September 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Asian Music Chart Top 40: 1 October 2021". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Ackroyd, Stephen (6 October 2021). "Joy Crookes has shared a video for her latest single 'When You Were Mine'". Dork. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  14. ^ Kenneally, Cerys (13 October 2021). "Joy Crookes previews debut album with new single "Trouble"". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h Browne, Hannah (13 October 2021). "Joy Crookes - Skin". Clash. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Williams, Sophie (14 October 2021). "Joy Crookes – 'Skin' review: curiosity and hope amid hardship". NME. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  17. ^ a b c d e Rigotti, Alex (14 October 2021). "Album Review: Joy Crookes - Skin". Gigwise. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  18. ^ a b Kheraj, Alim. "Joy Crookes: Skin review – vibrant politics and beautiful storytelling". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  19. ^ Abdul, Geneva (7 October 2021). "Joy Crookes's Introspective Soul Digs Deep Beneath Her 'Skin'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  20. ^ a b Ahluwalia, Navi (6 August 2021). "Joy Crookes's Debut Album, Skin, Is a Collection of Stories About Identity". PopSugar. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Skin by Joy Crookes". United States: Metacritic. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  22. ^ a b Wright, Lisa (11 October 2021). "Album Review: Joy Crookes - Skin". DIY. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  23. ^ Hodgkinson, Will; Potton, Ed (14 October 2021). "The best new music to listen to this week". The Times. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  24. ^ Kheraj, Alim (15 October 2021). "Joy Crookes: Skin review – vibrant politics and beautiful storytelling". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 October 2021. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  25. ^ " – Joy Crookes – Skin" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  26. ^ "Top Albums (Week 42, 2021)". SNEP. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  27. ^ " – Joy Crookes – Skin" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  28. ^ "Official Irish Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  29. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  30. ^ " – Joy Crookes – Skin". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  31. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 October 2021.