Hole: Nobody's Daughter

I feel bad for Courtney Love. Hole's new album, Nobody's Daughter, isn't exactly making critics happy, but the truth is she would have to be pushing record of the year material to make up for past transgressions. Some critics even panned it before it was released.

I have a complicated relationship with iconic '90s figures. I spent my late teens and early twenties during the part of that decade when the alternative became the mainstream, but I avoided a lot of dark, plodding grunge music coming from the Northwest. It was all so dire and bleak. I like my punk happy -- or at least to kind of sound that way even if its lyrics aren't. Needless to say, I was never a much of a Hole fan, but I'm a stealth defender of Courtney Love. I love her "warts and all" approach to both her music and her personal life. Plus, she was one of the first female artists I knew to use the "F" word -- you know, feminism. Pretty brave thing to do in rock's boys' club atmosphere. I'm not ready to discount her just yet.

Nobody's Daughter isn't the mess critics are making it out to be. It's probably not going to win any awards, but it's a pretty decent rock album. On songs like "Honey" and "For Once in Your Life," it sounds like her voice is aging into a Marianne Faithfull-esque croak, but the old howl is still there. She says the record is about "greed, vengeance and feminism." And you can't argue with that.

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