As a critical society we continually fail female musicians. We do not lavish praise on them the same way we do their male colleagues and many often slight their work instead of giving it the acclaim it is due. Courtney Love is no stranger to the press and for most of her career, she has been undervalued. The most spiteful comments often attribute her success to her male collaborators, who undoubtedly partnered with her and bring out her best, but for nearly three decades, when she steps in front of a microphone, what we see, hear and feel is undoubtedly one-hundred-percent Courtney Love.

Back in 2010, under the name of her band Hole, Courtney released Nobody’s Daughter, while it didn’t feature any members from earlier variations of the band, Love made the album her own and it served as a manifestation of her truest self while still containing the essential DNA that made the Hole albums of the nineties vital. Nobody’s Daughter was a rebirth for Love as she bared her soul in these songs.

On “Pacific Coast Highway” she sings transcendentally of a boy who grasped her world better than anyone but who left her in shambles. The mid-tempo number may be a page from her past (and possibly from the present) and as the listener tries to piece the puzzle together, we’re left with an incomplete picture that is mysterious due to its ambiguous nature. Throughout the song, she makes one of the album’s most touching decrees, “And all this world’s fame, drugs, plague won’t stop my survival.”

Here’s Hole playing the second single off of Nobody’s Daughter “Pacific Coast Highway” Live:

“Someone Else’s Bed” finds Love taking stock of her life and choices with cautious reflection (“Sunday morning when the rain begins to fall/I believe I’ve seen the end of it all”). “How Dirty Girls Get Clean” may hearken back to the Hole’s past more than any of the other eleven songs with a mystical insecurity (“I’m a lost soul”) underscored by distorted blast of guitars and drums. The dichotomy of existence between the illumination and misery sets the tone for a raucous and brutal anthology of songs where earnestness is dripping at the seams.

On “Letter to God”, Love sings more than a song but a painful prayer. The lyrics, written by Linda Perry, take you on a whirlwind journey painting pictures of devastation, redemption along with a pining for emancipation which she finds on the album closer, “Never Go Hungry”. The iridescent acoustic number is a sneering declaration, (“I will never go hungry, go hungry again”). Love’s tough-talking delivery reaffirms her liberation hinting to the listener that if she can walk through fires of hell and come out on the other end. Love has lived enough lifetimes to impart these tales upon her listeners where she takes them on a voyage of self-renewal where she attempts to uncover the secrets of her soul.

Courtney Love is an artist who has never hid behind an image or an album that wasn’t a distillation of her truest self and a decade on, ‘Nobody’s Daughter’ stands as one of the best albums of the decade, one which is about a survivor weaving through the wreckage of her past, trying to better herself and in the process claws through to the surface where betters days lay ahead.

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMUSIC Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at tonyk AT antiMUSIC DOT com and can be followed on Twitter

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