Album review: Hole's 'Nobody's Daughter'
Sometimes the most glorious thing that can happen to a haggard wildcat like Courtney Love is to get older, angrier and all the more vulnerable and wise. On “Nobody’s Daughter,” Hole’s first album since 1998’s “Celebrity Skin,” Love announces with little fanfare that the bloom is off the rose. In “For Once in Your Life,” she sings in her revenge-of-the-one-night-stand voice, “I swear I’m too young to be this old.”
In some ways, “Nobody’s Daughter” is a more arresting work than Hole’s savage 1994 breakthrough, “Live Through This,” released days after Kurt Cobain’s death. Love never had a honeyed voice by any stretch, but now her ravaged growl sounds settled in. There’s a specific pleasure in hearing her coil around the words “anguish and misery,” her two old friends. And a woman this angry at age 45 still has the ability to scare the baby-men at the bar — and titillate a few too.
Judging from the first single, “Skinny Little Bitch,” as well as the ragged “Samantha” and other vengeful tracks, the record company wants to present Love as all bloody nails, but there are softer moments on “Nobody’s Daughter” too. For all her bitterness, Love is still willing to scrap up the mountain and feel the breeze. On “Pacific Coast Highway,” which comes as close to a jangle as Love will ever get, she motors around with a gun in her hand but a mandate to live.
The biggest problem with “Nobody’s Daughter” is the mostly standard hard rock licks provided by her too-merry band of youngsters. These boys don’t sound like they’ve lived through anything, much less Love’s torrid brand of “this.” Time for our vixen to get rougher in the studio — or find some tough-living girls from Olympia, Wash.
Two and a half stars (Out of four)
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