Review: Hole “Nobody’s Daughter”

With the well documented issues Courtney Love has had with substance abuse, it’s not entirely surprising that she ended up being forced into a lock down rehab facility in 2005. What is a nice surprise is that this lock down caused Courtney to return to music.

Producer/song writer Linda Perry (she was in 4 Non Blondes back in the day and has also worked to create hits with Christina Aguilera, Pink and Gwen Stefani) urged Love to start writing music again while she was in the clinic. Love wrote several songs in rehab and then, when she was released to house arrest for the final 3 months, continued to pen songs. Reportedly she had issues playing guitar because her hand/eye coordination was so bad. But the songs she was writing were, according to Love, very, very personal.

But how did this end up working as an album?

Nobody’s Daughter is a fantastic reminder of when angry girl rock had it’s brief period of popularity. It’s nice to hear an album that reminds me of when Alanis, Fiona and, oh, right, Hole, were all over the airwaves refusing to apologize for airing their issues and their anger. Love’s voice is gritty, angry, messy and right where it needs to be for most of the songs. It’s a bit hard to buy the moments where she appears to be tender, but for the most part it works.

Love aims her pen all over the place. From outwardly pointed songs like “Samantha” with a refrain of “People like you/f*ck people like me/f*ck/to avoid suffering” and “Skinny Little Bitch” which is pretty much just what it sounds like, to “Letter to God,” written with Perry, which bemoans Love’s issues with her identity. “I never wanted to be/some kind of comic relief/please show me who I am.”

My only real gripe with the album is the length of the songs. At times songs clock out at over 5 minutes, but the time doesn’t feel well-spent. Occasionally I found a song dragging, and then looked up to see that it was only half over. The sound Courtney’s working with feels much closer to Live Through This, yet the song lengths are closer to the more mainstream and commercial album Celebrity Skin.

Of course, there’s also my other issue that I feel the need to raise: I’m not 100% happy with this being called a Hole album. While Courtney made it very clear that Hole is HER band, this feels more like a Courtney Love project than Hole. Maybe it’s the fact that Courtney is the only returning member of the band (granted, through the tumultous history of Hole they always had issues keeping a stable line-up), maybe it’s how personal the songs are, but as excited I am to be able to say “Hole has a new album out,” I don’t feel like this is Hole.

But really, in the end, what to call the project and the band is up to Courtney. And trust me, I’m not about to argue with her. Not after she put out something like this.