Hole - Nobody's Daughter
That there is a new Hole album at all inevitably causes raised eyebrows, not least because the line-up includes just one remaining original member. However, musically, it all makes perfect sense. This is, effectively, Celebrity Skin II - complete with four Billy Corgan co-writes. Had you awoken from a decade-long coma to be informed that this was released in 2000 by the same group of musicians and not 2010 by the singer and some hired hands, you wouldn't have batted an eyelid. In reality, this is an album with a long and troubled gestation: missing multiple scheduled release dates, and finally including songs that were first demoed 5 years ago alongside more recent collaborations with new guitarist, Micko Larkin.
Nobody's Daughter is an album of two halves, equal parts vengeful and self-pitying. Lead single 'Skinny Little Bitch', 'Samantha' and 'Loser Dust' all showcase typical Courtney Love vitriol, revisiting the same kind of big chorus anger she first perfected on Live Through This, this time directed at other women, tearing them down for their appearance and sexual antics. 'Pacific Coast Highway', the album's summery, radio-friendly high point, is clearly a sister piece to the likes of 'Malibu', and while the shadow of Kurt Cobain doesn't hang as heavy over this record, it's hard not to interpret PCH's references to having "your gun in my hand" and a "boy who came from the sea, he was the only one who ever knew the truth about me" as CLove continuing to rake over the ashes of her earlier life.
The remorseful, self-pitying, yet undefeated part of the album is perhaps more interesting, finding her identifying with "the motherless children and fatherless babies" to whom she dedicates the album in the liner notes. She clearly sees herself as the 'Nobody's Daughter' of the title track in which she admonishes "Don't try to win, it'll only end in disgrace." Portraying herself as a misfit and a victim, she describes herself as "a hungry, lost girl" and of wanting to die. In places, this is a stark, reflective self portrait.
Little has changed, musically or lyrically in the twelve years since the last Hole album - and goes some way towards erasing from memory the car crash that was her stab at a solo album - leaving this comeback as a minor vindication. If you liked Celebrity Skin, you'll like this, possibly even love it. If you yearn for the rougher edges of her earlier career, there's little here to pull you back into the fold.