Hole: Nobody’s Daughter

RIYL: Nirvana, Bush, heroin chic

Ten years removed from its last year, it appears that the ’90s nostalgia wave has officially begun. Alice in Chains pulled a shocking comeback last year, and this year will see the reformation of two of the biggest bands of ’90s alt-rock, Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden. The question is, what is driving this musical time warp? Is it the counter-culture – if such a thing still exists these days – rejecting the sounds of today, or a simple cash grab by the bands in question? The truth lies somewhere in between, but if we’re being honest, we suspect it’s closer to the latter than the former.


That Hole is releasing an album this year as well is probably more coincidence than opportunistic timing. This is only their fourth album in 19 years, after all, so no one can accuse Courtney Love of having anything resembling a master plan. And goodness knows that she surprised a lot of people when Celebrity Skin hit the post-grunge wasteland in 1998, so with the release of Nobody’s Daughter, one is inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt – to a point, anyway. Sure, the album works here and there, but when Love tries to let loose on songs like “Skinny Little Bitch,” “Loser Dust” and “Samantha,” it is in the most mannered way imaginable. Indeed, her attempts to get snotty in that last song reveal Love trying just a bit too hard to be edgy, with the whole “people like you (fuck!) people like me (fuck!)” refrain. Frances Bean is surely in a corner saying, “Stop it, Mom, you’re embarrassing me.”

The album’s best moments come when Love acts her age. Album closer “Never Go Hungry” is a taut acoustic track – and curiously, the only song she wrote without outside assistance – that fits right in with her earlier work. The album could have used more of those and less songs like Linda Perry’s “Letter to God.” In the end, Nobody’s Daughter is slightly more than what one would expect from Love at this point in her life. Here’s to using diminished expectations to your advantage. (Cherry Forever/Island Def Jam 2010)

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