First three adjectives that come to mind when listening to this album:
Three favorite songs on album:
"Pacific Coast Highway"
"Letter To God"
"Never Go Hungry"
I come from a generation of Mighty Ducks, St. Elmo's Fire, Reality Bites and Pretty In Pink. I was taught that those magical, emotion-filled comebacks are almost always possible. I'm blaming the movie industry for getting my hopes up for this album. I wanted this album to blow me, and the rest of the world, away. I wanted Courtney Love to stand up for herself and fight back with a fucking brilliant album.
Don't get me wrong, Nobody's Daughter isn't a waste. There are a few appetizing stand outs, which lead me to believe that Love still has it in her. Call me an eternal optimist, but it's obvious that she still has an immense amount of talent and can still produce hits. This just isn't the record I wanted it to be.
The album credits include some decent musicians such as Billy Corgan, Linda Perry, and Martha Wainwright. But in spite of such heavy hitters, the album comes off as a 3 year old beauty pageant contestant. It may once have held a pure, innocent beauty, but now it's just an overproduced mess of hairspray and fake fingernails.
Play by play (Er...Song by song?):
The album starts off with "Nobody's Daughter," in which Love sings "and no one here could ever stop my ruin now," and I begin to believe her. This song is overproduced and over-enunciated (especially on words like "bottom" and "asphyxiate"). At times, Love sounds a little like the evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A tad creepy.
"Skinny Little Bitch" is a rampant, rage-induced song with punk tendencies. Lyrically, it could be taken from someone's twitter feed. Catchy pop tweets for today's kids.
Kurt Cobain. Courtney Love can't escape his ghost and seemingly the third track on this album, "Honey," appears to be a love-lost toss to Kurt with lyrics like "Why was I not good enough to save you from destruction?" and "I hold on to you like the death of angel." Regardless of who the track is about, this song has some decent parts to it although Love's vocals turn to a slight growl at spots which put me off a bit.
"Pacific Coast Highway" has a familiar and welcoming sound to it. It could be the missing track on 1998's Celebrity Skin album. It's laced with melody driven guitar licks and back up harmonies that are reminiscent of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It has lost some of the withered snarls that the other songs possess.
"Samantha" rings of bitterness. Best part of the song is the chanting "People like you fuck people like me." That part, in particular, has a sort of Veruca Salt type feel but seems a little dated.
Sounding a bit like an 80's tune with its distinct, repetitive, Cure-esque guitar riffs, "Someone Else's Bed" has a B-side quality to it. It's aim is high, but unfortunately it doesn't amount to much.
"For Once In Your Life" reminds me of a late 90's singer-songwriter type song. When Courtney sings "I lay bare," the vocals seem withered, old and low and force me to realize we're all getting old and no matter what happens, we're all going to die. Downer. Love's lyrical sentiments, "I swear I'm too young to be this old, this old," sum it up. Downer again.
Written by Linda Perry, "Letter To God" showcases a scared humility and honesty. It's a bit misplaced on this album but ended up being one of my favorites.
In "Loser Dust," Love's raspy screams mimic Joan Jett. Fast paced and catchy.
"How Dirty Girls Get Clean" is the second to last track on Nobody's Daughter. Some prominent lyrics from the track are "Listen to her lust, yeah, hear her disgrace / Listen to the fragile things as they all break / Watch from the covers, the comfort of your home / Through the ice and sleet baby, oh down down we go." One can't deny that Love has become a scapegoat for many negative feelings. It's just interesting to see the connection in the lyrics. It's easy for Love's critics to throw punches if they are thrown from the "comfort of your home." We've all become voyeurs of her anguish and disgrace.
"Never Go Hungry" (Bonus track) is the only track written singly by Love. Its chorus is pop driven acoustic rock at its core.
As far as looks go, this album is intriguing. Everything looks fascinating; however, it's kind of a mess. From what I can tell, it appears to be some sort of gothic, dark take on a Cinderella story, but the pieces are missing. Kind of like the album, it doesn't all add up.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Up From Below (2010)