Review: Jack Foley
WILD child, Courtney Love, may have her fair share of bad publicity,
in terms of the way she lives her life, but there's generally
no doubting that the lady knows how to rock...
Having emerged from the emotional scars of being Kurt Cobain's
other half, and coming through drinks, drugs, sex and anything
else that came before her, the artist has now released her debut
solo album, which possesses all the hallmarks of a rock 'n' roll
When Love sings of 'bad food, bad sex, bad TV', during tracks
such as Sunset Strip, or warns that 'I will fuck you up',
during Life Despite God, you tend to feel she is saying
it with good reason.
This is someone who has certainly lived her lyrics, which makes
the impact they have all the more striking.
This may be a loud, angry, rant at times, but it could also be
an album that fires straight from the heart.
And its allure doesn't so much lie in her ability to churn out
the big numbers (which border on sounding repetitive), but rather
her decision to opt for some restraint, at times, during songs
which hark back to the writing style of her former band, Hole.
Hence, as hit-and-miss as the album becomes, there is enough
to admire about it to consider it a personal success for the artist.
It does everything it sets out to, while laying the foundation
for a successful solo career, if the singer is so minded.
Mind you, she has drawn on some considerable outside talent to
help her, too, most notably in the form of collaborations from
esteemed songwriters Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes, Pink, Christina
Aguilera) and Bernie Taupin (Elton John), as well as featuring
the musical accomplishment of Wayne Kramer (MC5), Kim Deal (Pixies,
Breeders) and Scott McCloud (Girls Against Boys).
It's perhaps all the more disappointing then that the album unfolds
in such a routine way, with debut single, Mono, getting
things off to a routine, if fired up, start.
Love, it seems, is angry at a lot of things, and this manifests
itself in the sneering attack on the New Rock Revolution that
is Mono, as well as the bitter love song, But Julian,
I'm a Little Older Than You, in which she spits lyrics such
as 'I can smell her on you everywhere... and I cannot forget',
and 'you know when your phone went dead, that was me on the
Yet as emotive as some of the lyrics become during the early
stages, it's not until she starts looking a little more personally
that the quality improves, with Sunset Strip, in particular,
a stand-out moment, featuring lyrics such as 'rock star, pop
star, everybody dies... and I know I won't see tomorrow'.
Strong, too are the likes of Almost Golden, which harks
back to her Hole days, and the power ballad, Uncool, which
features lyrics such as 'baby, you're a freak show, just like
me', before claiming that she wants to be 'uncool'.
Love is one of rock's living enigmas, a performer who is as reviled
as she is adored, and who seldom makes any apologies for who she
is - be it actress, singer, celebrity or icon.
This album merely serves to heighten that mystique, offering
an intriguing insight into a genuine character.
America's Sweetheart she may not be, but it's hard not
to love her in some way!
2. But Julian, I'm a Little Older Than You
3. Hold On To Me
4. Sunset Strip
5. All The Drugs
6. Almost Golden
7. I'll Do Anything
9. Life Despite God
11. Zeplin Song
12. Never Gonna Be the Same