Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pacific Coast Highway

Song: Pacific Coast Highway
Artist: Hole
Album: Nobody's Daughter

Back in the mid-90's when Hole was promoting their last album, "Celebrity Skin," I remember a quote from then co-founder, songwriter, and lead guitarist Eric Erlandson in regards to the wild persona of their front woman;

"Courtney Love is a soap opera. Hole is a band."

I often quoted this line when I professed my love for the band, because people no doubt would say something to the effect of, "Ugh, I can't stand her." And it was so true, as people couldn't separate the Courtney Love from the tabloids, to the front-woman of one of the most important rock bands of the time. The thing about Courtney, as she was not the woman, or lady, or even "bitch" that people could handle... they demeaned her art every way possible. From the second Hole record being actually written by Kurt Cobain, the third Billy Corgan, and when she turned in a brazen should-have-been star-making performance in the film "The People vs. Larry Flint," it was dismissed. This woman could do no right.

But Courtney Love is a mess... and drugs have altered her life and changed what could have been. But what do we have? Well... we have one uneven and (in my opinion) unlistenable debut album with Hole, two BRILLIANT second and third albums (and again two of the best of the 90's) one uneven but worth checking out solo album, and now... well now we have another killer Hole album.

It's been a long time coming, and most of it had been leaked in various forms here and there, but as I listen to "Nobody's Daughter" I am once reminded just how amazing this woman is as a songwriter. And how she lives her art... it's messy, it's a little scary, but it's just some of the best rock singer-songwriter stuff happening right now. I'm worried that given the state of the industry, and the limited money to help keep her in check to promote it will render the album a footnote. It will be a travesty, because some of her best songs are here.

There are the rocking tracks where Courtney comments on the pain of drugs, celebrity, and basically the roller coaster that is her media life ("Skinny Little Bitch," "How Dirty Girls Get Clean") as well as more story-songs that remind me of classics from "Live Through This," like "Samantha," "Honey," and "Someone Else's Bed." But even better are a handful of songs that might just be the best she's written... songs that could only come from Courtney and yet transcend her "soap opera" and become songs that you can connect with personally, just beautiful.

"Pacific Coast Highway," "Someone's Else's Bed," "For Once in Your Life," "Letter to God," and the breathtaking closer "Never Go Hungry" all will shake the listener in a way that the best songs do. Amazing stuff.

Courtney is back... but is anybody still listening?


Pacific Coast Highway

Skinny Little Bitch

Letter to God

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