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 Everett True

Hole 2.0 – Nobody’s Daughter (the live-to-air review)

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Hey. Glad you could make it. Thought we might want to establish a few rules before I get down to the actual reviewing.

This is a trial run for the format. So – duh – it might not work, as a format. The idea is that this live-to-air review takes it cue from the live political blogs and sports commentaries that one sees frequently on newspaper sites. I haven’t listened to any of this album before, and tried to keep outside opinion to a minimum. The way I review stuff these days, I try and focus on the music, shorn of context (the way folk claim criticism should be done but isn’t). You might argue that that’s impossible with Courtney Love but really, I have no interest in rehab or watching the car crash. Most music I receive these days is MP3 format and so there’s no outside clutter there. I purposely try not to see other critics’ opinions before giving mine (the exact inverse of the Google Search Engine optimisation syndrome that’s killing music criticism).

Having said that, of course I admit to a bias here. I’m not going into this situation expecting to enjoy the album – the guitarist is called Micko, for Bangs’ sake; and no less a washed-up former limpet as Billy Corgan has called Courtney the “Queen of Rock’n’Roll” – but I’m not going into it expecting to have a bad time, either.

So here’s the form. I switch the stopwatch on and start the album running. I review it while it’s running and when it stops, I stop. Maybe I might do a summary at the end, maybe not. I regularly update the blog entry, every couple of minutes, so you can read along with the process. No edits. There’s no time.

I think that’s it. Oh, and please participate. I welcome your feedback and suggestions and invective, the more immediate the better. That’s the whole point of this format. If it works OK – and I can’t imagine it will – I might try and find a different way to host this dialogue the next time.

Oh, and I’m calling Courtney’s second album Hole 2.0 because it saves me from having to use inverted commas the entire time. This isn’t Hole, not by any stretch of the imagination. It’s simply Courtney trying to save face after the abomination that was her one solo album, and realising that her own name in the context of releasing music has no cultural capital left attached at all.

I’m really not familiar with Courtney’s movements over the past decade. Seems like she’s not been making that good a go of it. Shame. We once knew each other. I wondered before sitting down to write this review whether this makes me under- or over-qualified to comment. James McMahon of NME has already made the point that it’d be far better if a 14-year-old girl was to write a review explaining why she felt so let down by this latest incarnation of Ms Love than for me to slag it. And clearly I have the weight of history dragging me down. But wait! Courtney Love fans – are they in love with her as she is today, or the way she was over 15 years ago? Courtney Love fans – do they all totally rate her solo output, or love her music for a handful of albums she released in the early 90s?

Whatever. I want to focus on the music. I don’t want the sideshow.

“I’m not that stupid/I just need a lot of help/To understand how stupid you are,” Courtney sings, within seconds of the opening title track, a bluesy self-lacerating lament. She sounds like Marianne Faithful, cleaned up a little. The imagery is all Goothic 16-year-old diaries, but that’s cool. The tune disconcertingly keeps wanting to slip into an Oasis song I can’t quite put my finger on.

Are those some violins I can hear? Shorn of context, yes. This song works. I can do without the references to broken dolls and whores (again!) but, it’s a good slow-burner, a tad like ‘Northern Star’. (Eric’s song, right?)

Oh god. ‘Skinny Little Bitch’ starts like someone who grew up believing all the bullshit about Exile On Main Street being a good album, and wears the ‘rock outsider’ card proudly, annoyingly. Sure, drop the guitars out so you can only hear the bass – but have a good bass line first.

It’s a horrible fucking title too. Talks about kicking scrawny ass, and drugs, and how nasty drugs are. Um. Focus on the music. Focus on the music. The music is horrible. One good track, one bad track – better than America’s Sweetheart already then!

She can’t scream like she used to. That’s ok. Cut the lady some slack, why don’t you? She’s a survivor.

We’re on to ‘Honey’ now. Just before this, I was listening to Joan Jett And The Blackhearts. I wish I was still listening to Joan Jett And The Blackhearts. This is one of those complete non-songs that argue so eloquently against the continuation of the album as a format for music. Wait, is that even an Oasis reference in the lyric!

Ah, c’mon. Finish already. This must be the song aimed at the Billy Corgan fans (i.e the completely indiscriminating)

In the comments, Sean from Drowned In Sound says he’s surprised at how much input Linda Perry had. “The queen of rock’n’roll,” huh Billy? That’ll be the Perry factor.

“I’ve lost myself completely,” the lady sings on ‘Pacific Coast Highway’. She’s not the only one she’s lost. The nicest thing I can say about this one is that it sounds like another out-take from Celebrity Skin, the third Hole album. Everything about it, I mean. The dynamics, the slowing down bit, the acoustic guitar (ugh!), the way she drawls the vocal… the producer is the same dude, right?

Ah, ‘Samantha’. My old friend. A song about a hooker trying to go clean. Ah, my old friend. “She wants to wrap her legs around this world…” What, again?

“People like you fuck people like me in order to avoid agony!” (In capital letters but I don’t have time to switch that.) Yes, damn straight, that really is a fucking great line, and just as I was about to dismiss this song as Live Through This lite. Nope, I’m willing to give Courtney this one. Another good song! What’s that? Two out of five? Not a bad strike rate. It might well be the catchiest chorus Courtney has written her entire life!

(Mandatory feedback at song’s end.) “She’s singing so fucking weird on this record,” comments Marco. “Like Chrissie Hynde mixed in with Katherine Hepburn gasping for air.” Dude! Want to take over this keyboard?!

‘Someone Else’s Bed’ is trite cliché piled upon trite cliché. Something about waking up in someone else’s bed wearing someone else’s underwear. Yes, we all know Courtney enjoys sex. I mean, she’s not exactly unforthcoming about it. This is one of those Linda Perry moments. Really substandard. Is she really singing, “Are you deaf to your balls?”

Oh wait, she’s still not spouting on about that “I never said I would die for you” line again, is she?

Now she’s sounding matronly! Nothing wrong with that, of course – and way better than pretending to be Britney Spears or Pink, but it’s disconcerting, you understand? She
‘s out crawling on glass again… that’s the great thing about Courtney’s lyrics, you know that she’s drawing from actual life here, not metaphors. I’m sorry. I don’t get ‘For Once In Your Life’. She’s so like Marianne on this one, it just makes me want to hear Marianne. But (shrugs) maybe this confessional blues in the way forward for her?

And the violins remind me of The Verve. Shudder. She’s been hanging out in England for waaaay too long.

Oh god. ‘Letter To God’. Oh god. Why does every fucking self-satisfied Hollywood-tainted fucking rock star feel like they HAVE to write a song like this if they live past 45? “Dear God/I’m writing this letter to you… I feel nothing… I never wanted to be/Some kind of comic relief/Please show me who I am”. “I’ve been tortured and scorned/Since the day I was born/But I don’t know who I am”. Oh fucking sweet Bangs. Oh fucking fucking heavens opening and weeping and letting down their light on poor, hard-done-by multi-millionairess Courtney. And why, oh why, oh why, does she thinks that if it was ok for Axl Rose to sing like this it’s ok for her? Get your Hole 2.0 cigarette lighters now so you can wave them in the air.

There’s a church at the bottom of the road which keeps changing its billboard. “‘I’ is at the heart of sin.” “Feel overlooked? How do you think God feels?” Courtney should sign up.

‘Loser Dust’ is a rock song that doesn’t rock. At all. At all. I think I’m going to blame Micko the guitarist here. I mean, seriously. Micko. How can you rock with a name like that?

Oh, and don’t you love rock stars preaching against taking drugs? Especially rock stars called Courtney Love.

My tolerance is waning. I have to admit it. ‘How Dirty Girls Get Clean’… man, they must have been stoked in the product meeting when the yes-men came up with that title! She’s back to trying to sound like Courtney circa 1993. She’s much better attempting to sound like Marianne circa 2008.

Ah, it’s that idiot Corgan again, on co-writer credits with Perry and Love. She’s wrapped her legs around him, AGAIN! And he’s got no home, AGAIN! Whoa. C’mon Courtney, lyrics always used to be one of your absolute strengths.

It’s horrible, a mid-70s wash of crap.

Ah, the final ‘bonus’ track! Sweet mercy.

Ah, it’s a final ‘bonus’ track because it’s acoustic – and, one presumes, a little light relief after all the legs-wrapping and homelessness and whores-trying-hard and angel dust references and solemn pledges to God…

Ah, it’s the final ‘bonus’ track because it’s not very good.

…and… sigh… it’s self-congratulatory and filled with self-approval and… ah fuck, in another six years time she’s going to be using another name and disavowing that she ever made this album, that it was everyone else’s fault but hers, and that someone truly should have reined her in… wait, Courtney, please don’t do Bob Dylan, really doesn’t work… and that she’ll need to regroup and re-brand, and (shrugs) she could always take that Nirvana tag couldn’t she, everyone knows she was the real power behind that…

Thanks for taking part. Any further comments, suggestions, gratefully received.

35 Responses to Hole 2.0 – Nobody’s Daughter (the live-to-air review)

  1. Douglas B April 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Have you started the CD yet?

  2. cyberduke23 April 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Are you there? Where is the live bit? Or am I doing something wrong?

  3. SeanDiS April 26, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    have you seen the co-writer credits? surprised by how much input Linda Perry has had. there's even a bit of Billy Corgan on there.

  4. cyberduke23 April 26, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Funnily enough St Georges Day my mate asked me if I would like to see Hole. I hope she gets the tickets.

  5. cyberduke23 April 26, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Now I am getting the concept. Thats the time in minutes right? Hey I like. What a revolution in the making. Way to go.

  6. cyberduke23 April 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Next time I may even be able to listen at the same time as reading your comments.

  7. Marco Collins April 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    She's singing so fuckin weird on this record. Like some kinda wanna be Chrissie Hynde fake vibrato mixed with the Katherine Hepburn's gasp for air…

  8. cyberduke23 April 26, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    How many blokes does one need to satisfy ones passions?

  9. Tony April 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I’m sorely tempted to actually pay real money to go see Hole 2.0 play in Glasgow, mostly because I never did see Hole 1.0 and a lot of those early songs make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, even now.

    Through the first few minutes of this review, you’ve got me convinced; a halfway-decent couple of songs I would be happy to sit through whilst hoping Courtney is ready to break into The Good Stuff later in the set.

    By halfway though, I can see myself heading for the bar instead. Oasis influences? Violins appropriated form The Verve, of all places? Things are not going well.

    ‘A Letter To God’? Bollocks to that. I’m rapidly losing the will to spend any cash on tickets now.

    But, still … there’s the chance of a half-arsed version of Hole’s greatest hits played live and that’s got to be worth a few quid, right? Right?

  10. lloyd April 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Ahhh, glad I taped this. Time to sit back with a beer and FFWD through the commercials. 😉

  11. Jerry April 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Yeah… I knew there was a flaw in this approach somewhere. But you missed out on the excitement of a live-to-air review! How many other critics can you think of, foolish enough to attempt such a feat?

  12. Andrew McMillen April 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I approve of this review format. Looking forward to more like it.

  13. Jerry April 26, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    (from Facebook)

    Jessy Nix, Sway Austin and Nathan Howdeshell like this.

    Bianca Rosemarie de Valentino
    that was fun! 🙂
    14 minutes ago ·

    Nathan Howdeshell
    Good job ET
    12 minutes ago ·

  14. lloyd April 26, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    How easy was it to keep refreshing/approving comments and listening and reviewing all at once? How did that work?
    If you had a more real-time thing – something somewhere between Twitter and a live chat channel maybe…

  15. Jodi April 26, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I agree with Cyberduke, next one I'll line up the album you're reviewing and listen at the same time. Nice and cozy like.

    Generally, any time a band I loved returns from a long hiatus, promising to be really shit, I resist the urge to buy their new album and just listen to the old stuff instead. It saves a lot of heartache.

  16. Jerry April 26, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Actually Lloyd, it was next to impossible. Maybe I should disable the "approve comments" button next time? Damn. I wish I'd thought of that two hours ago. I do need a more real-time thing: this one required a certain faith on the part of my audience. One that I like to think I command. But.

  17. Laura April 26, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    What I can't believe anyone has mentioned yet is her voice… I mean, what has HAPPENED? It's horrid to think that Kurt's "missing millions" went on that much narcotics…

    On a slightly more personal note, this album has depressed me more than America's Sweetheart ever did, and I didn't think that was possible. What's worse is that she's put it out under the Hole name. It's an insult to my ears…

  18. Jo April 27, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Very entertaining review – probably a lot more interesting than the album.

    Ironically, my first experience of the internet was because I read in Melody Maker that, in 1994, Courtney Love was ranting on the web. "Internet, eh?" I thought, "I wonder what that is …"

  19. Jerry April 27, 2010 at 7:41 am

    (from Facebook)

    Laverne Hanna, Chris Kendall and Englane Albiona Ranas Read like this.

    Jon Slade
    jerry, i just realised you are much cooler than courtney love
    3 hours ago ·

    Englane Albiona Ranas Read
    "Oh, and I'm calling Courtney's second album Hole 2.0 because it saves me from having to use inverted commas the entire time. This isn't Hole, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's simply Courtney trying to save face after the abomination that was her one solo album, and realising that her own name in the context of releasing music has no cultural capital left attached at all." – THANK YOU! ♥
    3 hours ago ·

    Lili Wilde
    Yeah – Like Everett being very cool and CL being as far from cool as one can possibly be!
    2 hours ago ·

    Jon Slade
    can't believe it took me 20 years
    2 hours ago ·

    Chris Smith
    hmmm…I'm wondering if you have the final mixes on all of these Everett? I dont remember which song…but you made a reference that sounded like the old mixes I have as opposed to the new, but then again you did make it sound like you had the most recent version of Samantha…so I have no idea.
    2 hours ago ·

    Bianca Rosemarie de Valentino
    I've really enjoyed this way of reviewing for a whole lot of reasons.. I'll tell you about them when I see you E…
    about an hour ago ·

    Erika Meyer
    the entire album is (currently) available to stream for free on facebook:
    32 minutes ago ·

  20. Edward Guglielmino April 27, 2010 at 10:06 am

    There is also a church sign around the corner from your house that says "Ask an expert, ask God" I wonder what God thinks of the new hole album?

  21. Jerry April 27, 2010 at 11:03 am

    (from Facebook)

    Roddy Thomson
    I will give it a look when I get off work. Look forward to hearing this, I Hope this albums good. I'm worried about it being a Smashing Pumpkins "in name only" style affair.
    Yesterday at 20:57 ·

    Jodi Biddle
    Oh also did you have the moderation on comments on? Might drag the dialogue if you have to approve everything as you're writing.
    Yesterday at 21:55 ·

    Everett True
    yes, I just realised! Foolish of me. I could have temporarily suspended it, and always taken out any really offensive ones afterwards
    Yesterday at 22:00 ·

    Jodi Biddle
    Just remember to put a "don't feed the trolls" disclaimer on it each time, or the comments section will look like it belongs on youtube under a Justin Beiber clip.
    Yesterday at 22:53 ·

    Federica Pierino
    Real-time reviews are the future!!
    You're a genius!
    7 hours ago ·

  22. maxr April 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Great points Erika. Especially the one about how they even made the feedback boring. So painfully perfunctory. This Beinhorn guy just shits on everything, doesn't he?

  23. Miguel April 29, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Very cool – and fair – review. Sad to confirm my suspicion that she has become an icon devoid of any meaning.

  24. Jerry April 29, 2010 at 10:50 am

    (from Facebook)

    Laverne Hanna likes this.

    Charlie Bertsch
    I very much like the strategy and its implementation in this trial run.
    Yesterday at 01:08 ·

  25. Jerry April 29, 2010 at 10:51 am

    (from Facebook)

    Eric Erlandson
    yea, i read it already. i always love your reviews. and this one is especially timely! i haven't listened to the album yet. i wanted to make sure my medical insurance is still active.
    Yesterday at 15:59 ·

    Federica Pierino
    Yesterday at 16:06 ·

  26. Jerry April 29, 2010 at 10:52 am

    (from Facebook)

    Didier Becu
    Hard being a Courtneyfan I guess.
    Tomorrow I found out that the gig here in Belgium is cancelled.
    Somewhere you think : "Thanks" in a very cynical way.
    Can't help thinking her new stuff is great as well, but I kind of agree with what you wrote on your blog…it's just that I think the new Courtney is the best Fleetwood Mac-album that has never been released.
    No, this is not Hole but neiher was "Celebrity Skin"…
    Tues at 20:01 ·

  27. Jerry April 29, 2010 at 10:58 am

    (from Facebook)

    Everett True
    I have the Hole 2.0 album….
    24 April at 02:10 · Comment · Like

    Gry Kvalevaag Svendsen likes this.

    Michael Baggs
    Me too. I won't corrupt your first impressions with a twenty word review though.
    24 April at 02:12 ·

    Everett True
    no no. do!
    24 April at 02:14 ·

    Everett True
    (I've already had a few 20-word reviews on Twitter)
    24 April at 02:14 ·

    Sarah Guinevere Heald
    "when I was a meeja whore…" (oh have I got the lyrics wrong, I'll get me coat)…
    24 April at 02:15 ·

    Sandi Arya
    you mean "Nobody's Daughter"?
    24 April at 02:20 ·

    Michael Baggs
    About one third of the album is classic Courtney, balls out rock and it's awesome. The other two thirds seems a little listless and doesn't go anywhere. It's a bit dull as a record. It's just too middle of the road, it feels like the roughness and chaos have been sanded down in production.
    24 April at 02:24 ·

    Everett True
    so it's already sounding better than her previous
    24 April at 02:25 ·

    Michael Baggs
    Too true. Aside from Mono, I honestly can't remember a single song from her solo album. Probably with good reason.
    24 April at 02:34 ·

    Mika Jokinen
    Nooh. Skinny little bitch-single? I dont know BUT one of the best albums in the 90´s was Live through this.
    Sure i want to hear that album..yep!
    24 April at 02:55 ·

    Tom Warburton

    It's up for streaming on their FB page.
    24 April at 06:18 ·

    Federica Pierino
    I don't know what to think.I don't know what to expect.I'm confused…http://www.spinner.com/2010/04/22/courtney-love-hole-new-album/
    If Hole is no longer the band we love,then what is Hole now?What does it stand for? How can we fill the hole in?
    24 April at 06:29 ·

    Suzy Ramone
    Thanks Tom, listening now. Enjoying Honey.
    24 April at 15:29 ·

    Dave Bennett
    I think my feelings mirror those of Michael. If anything I'd say you're being a bit generous. It feels way too polished and if it wasn't for her voice it could be mistaken for any old top 40 attempt at being a bit edgy. Still, I don't think she's ever bettered Pretty on the Inside so maybe I'm just stuck in the past.
    24 April at 21:16 ·

  28. Jo May 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Hard to believe that Hole used to be THIS cool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA8vpfAbXLw

  29. Anonymous May 2, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I enjoyed the review more than the album, and I didn't even enjoy the review that much…

  30. Anonymous May 2, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Well, at least your review was more honest than the books and movies on Kurt…but then again Kurt was good at spewing his own garbage.

  31. Twigs May 5, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I really like this review form!

  32. Virgi May 5, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    So, so agree with you and I would rather not be!
    I'm a huge Hole fan (before Celebrity Skin)and this record really sucks. For me this is ever worse than AS because it is a second attempt!

    And the fact that the European tour is cancelled…

  33. Jerry May 11, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    (from Facebook)

    Everett True
    my review of the "Hole" album for the Vine
    07 May at 16:10 · Comment · Like · Share

    Jeff Jeffypop Bryant, Shirley Montgomery and 2 others like this.

    Simon J Benson
    "and realising that her own name as an artist has no cultural capital left attached at all." bwhahahah good call!
    07 May at 17:16 ·

    Gustaf Kjellvander
    I would never listen buy this album…….there are a few good songs but,and i really hate to say this: The songs are TOOO long and courtney should act her age and stop working with linda perry and shit like that
    07 May at 17:18 ·

    Simon Murray
    Did you see her band on Jools Holland?? What a joke. That guitar player. The one she claimed in April's Mojo could drink 40 Stellas in a day. And was the best guitarist of his generation since Noel Gallagher. He was shit. The rest of them were just doing it for the cash.
    07 May at 17:24 ·

    Julia Adamson
    prefer this one actually Everett.. (where did your loyalty ever go?) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment_and_arts/10100854.stm
    07 May at 21:48 ·

    Everett True
    why should I be loyal to Courtney? Is she a football team, or something?
    07 May at 22:12 ·

    Hayley Avron
    i'm stepping in for a friend to do a phoner with her this evening… have stepped over my moral boundaries and given the album a listen. the best bit was when Spotify went straight into a track from Pretty on the Inside. Feel very much the same as you regarding her decision to abandon the CL brand
    Saturday at 00:07 ·

    Eric Erlandson
    "The 45-year-old says she has been sober for "seven years" and currently only takes prescription medications." HHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
    yes she is a football team actually and behaves like one.
    Saturday at 02:22 ·

    Julia Adamson
    well she's playing Manchester tonight, seen Hole twice; once at the Boardwalk (and got a desk tape!!) and again later in 1995 ish.. would love to see her again, but the Slits are playing too.. an I'm there.. (Respek Eric!!)
    Saturday at 03:03 ·

    Eric Erlandson
    incomplete slits vs. fake hole. slits is def the wise choice.
    Saturday at 04:17 ·

    Hayley Avron
    well, she cancelled the interview, not surprised really. I could never bring myself to go see 'Hole' now. Saddening.
    Saturday at 04:32 ·

    Michael Sousa
    Hole without Eric, is like Siouxsie and the Banshees without Steve Severin. Both men were co-founders and are just as important to the legacy of their respective bands as the front-women.
    Sunday at 18:23 ·

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