Annie Lennox is an artist for adults. She will not whine at you about her lover. She will not demand to be treated like a lady while at the same time demand that she be coddled like a child. Her music isn't about messages but music itself; she connects the notes with the passion. Bare by its title promises to be the grown-up version of Stripped.
The sound on Bare is a lot of sonic landscaping, where every groove glows with the warmth of a healing wound. Hurt was always the best emotion she has conveyed and there's plenty of it here to bask in. And also, there is always the pleasure of riding her emotions as she comes back out on top.
You have the subtly ironic "A Thousand Beautiful Things" (Lennox is an expert in the art of the sadly beautiful) and the terrific ballad-escalating-to-rant style of "Pavement Cracks" and "Loneliness" that will remind you of such passionate classics as "You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart." I know you are hurting, and I hurt too, but you see we're still together. Anyone who's ever been in a serious relationship will know exactly what she's singing about.
You have plenty of painful songs ("Erased," "The Hurting Time," "The Saddest Song") and these are all very well. But we don't listen to Annie Lennox just to be reminded of pain. Lots of other artists can do that. But if you take a song like "Twisted" where you have lyrics like "I didn't want to know you / I didn't mean to be a friend / But now it seems / I'd run through burnin' fire / Just to see your face again" and she sings it the way she sings it, in a way Christina can't, or Whitney can't, or almost any other pyrotechnician you can name, you too will realize that Annie Lennox is… different. Less hysterical. More authentically complex.