COURTNEY LOVE – America’s Sweetheart

COURTNEY LOVE - America's Sweetheart


Release date: February 10, 2004

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Sex, drugs and rock & roll from a woman’s perspective.

What first brought my attention towards this CD was the cover picture. Look at it. The artwork is so 80s, 90s and 2004 at the same time. Courtney looks sexy and seductive. Flirting glance, pink guitar. This is a picture of a rock and roll siren.

Well, that’s her look. Her voice is quite different. Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain’s widow and ex-member of Hole if you didn’t know, have had her share of drinks and drugs, and you can tell by the way she sings. She sounds tired, drunk and dying, but I never ever have heard someone sounding this wasted still sounding so present.

When Love on the mid-tempo “Life Despite God” sings and snuffles /You should have loved me, baby, when redemption’s too blind/, her voice is filled with such presence and reproach that I personally feel guilt.

America’s Sweetheart contains several moments like this. “Hold On To Me”, “Uncool” and “Never Gonna Be The Same”, all beautiful, are slowed down tracks ( …who tend to speed up towards the end ) that reveal a very vulnerable and shaken Love. There’s a certain sensitivity to these tracks that lifts them high above most slow tunes you get to hear on rock albums these days.

On the other and less beautiful side Courtney Love shows all her rock ‘n’ roll vices. America’s Sweetheart contains some of the most explicit lyrics on sex I’ve ever heard a woman sing. Not surprisingly, we are talking about Courtney Love here, but jaws will drop. What about lines like this?: /I got pills for my coochie, coz baby I’m sore/ ( “Sunset Strip” ) or /Gimme empathy, give it from behind, throw me up against the wall, no baby do it again, no baby I’ll do you (…) give me white boy skinny, give me big black men (…) give me dick, give me speed/ (“I’ll Do Anything“). Is this something someone in perfect mental balance would like to share with the whole world? I don’t know if this honesty is about therapy, image or a total surrender to her baddest habits… All right, I got it, it’s rock and roll!… Lock up you son, and your father too…

However, musically this album impresses me. This album is actually something of the best I’ve heard this year. ( A Courtney Love solo album! I know, I can’t believe it myself! ) Here are rock and roll, punk, ballads and, I dare to say, blues oriented compositions, and Love delivers all of it with 100% credibility. Her punk rock songs are as melodious as you can get them, and her ballads are as rock and roll as one can imagine. Ok, the rawness is polished, and some of the primal screams are multi layered, after all it’s 2004. Still this album carries this vast honesty, and the instrumental performances are right at it. (The drumming on this album is perfect!) As well, her studio musicians ( her band? ) have participated on the composing, and Courtney has also brought in people like Linda Perry ( ex-4 Non Blondes ) and Bernie Taupin for the writing sessions. Successfully.

Tracks worth mentioning: “But Julian, I’m A Little Bit Older Than You”, “Almost Golden”, “I’ll Do Anything” and “Hello” are incredible cool and melodious punk rock / rock songs. “Hold On To Me” and “Sunset Strip” hold melodies that could have been Sheryl Crow’s. That’s a compliment.

All these songs are much better than the “Mono”-track chosen as the album’s first single. Don’t get me wrong; “Mono” is a cool song ( Unfortunately dragged down by a tragic music video…). Actually, “Zeplin Song” is the only track on America’s Sweetheart that doesn’t work.

Courtney Love’s status as a rock icon has for way too many years been based upon her lifestyle and off stage habits. Here’s an album that in excess makes justice to her status as an important musician.


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