by WestCoast Weasel WestCoast Weasel
May 5, 2010

When my brother recently asked “being a child of the 90’s grunge wasteland, are you stoked on the new Hole?” part of me wanted to smack him, and the other part figured, “Yeah, why not.  I do really like Hole.”  Without any real effort, I avoided listening to the single or paying too much attention to what band she brought with her, prior to giving Nobody’s Daughter a spin on its release date. Akin to simpler times (from which the original band itself spawned) unlike our current, immediate delivery of information and illegal download options—I hit play, right on time, as it was designed, this past Tuesday.

It was immediately promising, showcasing a blend of acoustic and electric guitars with syrupy (yet notable) production value.  “Nobody’s Daughter” is a captivating effort.  I figured that with the next title being “Skinny Little Bitch,” the album would pick up right where some of her snarly past efforts left off.  Being the album’s current, gritty single, it is (maybe) catchy enough to fulfill its expected potential.  It does tease us, delivering that scratchy, sleazy Courtney we’ve Loved to hate.

I guess that’s where the “riot-girl” vibe started and finished—at least for the next seven out of nine remaining songs.  Acoustic, mid-tempo tune-after-tune, back-to-back until three quarters of the way into the album?  Who produced this?  Michael Beinhorn who produced 1998’s Celebrity Skin allowed the record to be a hardcover romance novel: a hard edged front, back and a bunch of soaked tissue material in between.   Normally, I’m a fan of acoustic or mellower numbers (in moderation) but the order in which they appear and their frequency is head shaking.  “Honey” and “Pacific Coast Highway” do have their merits (more so the latter—the alleged second single); it’s just too bad that paired together (and followed by four more similar numbers) two of the brighter gems have little-to-no chance of shining on their own.  “Pacific” is reminiscent of the glitter found sprinkled on sharp post-Millennium Love cuts such as “Malibu” (from Celebrity Skin) and even a tad more recently on “Sunset Strip” from her under-rated 2004 solo effort American Sweetheart. Whatever’s left of this bruised girl’s innocence is heard here, with a bittersweet, yet delectable core.  Kudos to Billy Corgan, whose pen is introduced here, for the first time on the album.

I must say, hearing “People like you / Fuck people like me / In order to avoid agony” repeatedly, mid-record did bring back a little bite—and some balls—to boot.  “Samantha” is mildly fetching, but beyond the aforementioned provocation—she’s nothing special.  Again, if “Someone Else’s Bed” stood amongst edgier cuts, it—and its desperately infectious chorus—might stand out a little more.  Lyrics (at her age) such as, “So, you’re lying in your underwear / Oh, in someone else’s bed / So, I have another cigarette / How did I end up all alone? / How did we all end up dead?” are cringe worthy as they are questionable.  Lyrically “For Once in Your Life” offers stronger, hopeful verses with a sense of honesty and appropriate resentment.  “I swear I’m too young to be this old, this old / Covered in diamonds and covered in filth / But, I’m still breathing” rings out fairly over another acoustic ballad, thankfully though, with some noteworthy piano accompaniment.

This is where a half-assed output leans even further towards disappointment.  At the risk of sounding insensitive I must still give my two cents on Courtney’s “Letter to God.”  I, of course, could never understand the depths of being an ex-heroin junkie widow but does she really need to ask, “What’s my life all about? / I never wanted to be the person you see / Won’t you tell me who I am?”  Well, for starters you’re an irresponsible mother and a controlling attention-whore.  And to ask “Are you disappointed or are you proud?”  What do you think? Really.  You’ve single handedly alienated every band member that was Hole (while conjuring up facetious rumors of their involvement in this “reunion”), every close band member/friend of Kurt’s band (through court battle after court battle) and continually lose your grip on the one person who you’re left to love the most—your daughter.  Maybe she’s “nobody’s daughter,” questioning how both of her parents were too fucked to care.  Ask God about that.

When the grungy numbers see the light of grey in “Loser Dust” and “How Dirty Girls Get Clean” it’s a challenge to get amped up sitting 30+ minutes into what plays out like another Courtney solo record.  It’s almost impossible not to feel that way considering the star-studded writing team that simply includes herself, Billy Corgan, and Linda Perry with no band member involvement.  The pair of rockers near the end of this painful journey are alright at best but are simply too little, too late.  Despite the over saturation of ballads throughout, the final number is a raw, “Courtney and guitar-only” number that does close the door on a good note.  Overall, sadly, this isn’t what I’d call a Hole note.  Pun certainly and deservingly intended.

…Weasel Was Here

out of 5 weasels.

Choice Cuts: Pacific Coast Highway, Never Go Hungry

Click each track name for lyrics in a new tab/window

  1. For Once In Your Life
  2. Honey
  3. How Dirty Girls Get Clean
  4. Letter To God
  5. Loser Dust
  6. Never Go Hungry
  7. Nobody’s Daughter
  8. Pacific Coast Highway
  9. Samantha
  10. Skinny Little Bitch
  11. Someone Else’s Bed

Nobody’s Daughter was released on April 27, 2010 on Mercury Records.

Visit Hole online:  holerock.netmyspace.com/courtneylove

“Skinny Little Bitch” live on Jimmy Kimmel

Never trust a weasel. Support the artist and find out for yourself. WestCoastWeasel.com encourages purchasing Nobody’s Dauhter locally at Red Cat Records in Vancouver, B.C, any independent record store of your choice or online here.

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