Except for a couple of notable newspapers, readers will have been advised what a pretentious, heartless, so-so, post-grunge punk product this is. A word of advice: this is gravely misleading.
America’s Sweetheart is a good album. I’m tempted tosay fantastic because that’s the feeling you get once you’ve gotten to knowit a bit better. As you load the CD into the tray, be warmed by the thoughtthat opener Mono will pound you with energy and excavate the loose cannonedsnarl of Courtney Love, or think of the menacing punk ode to The Strokes’ JulianCasablancas (But Julian, I’m a Little Older Than You), where Courtney wouldrather meet him “in the bedroom” than the bathroom.
The sincere Hold On To Me tugs gently, as waves of the’90s wash up in frayed guitar echoes. This could easily havebeen a Pixies or Hole anthem except it describes Courtney still clearlyhaunted by Kurt Cobain: “This life is never fair / He comes to me / In the deadof winter / In the dead of night/ He’s all that I can see / Hold on tome.”
Though much of the pathetic publicity pap we read hasbeen self-induced, any of the red-top writers looking for an easy story fortheir trashy celeb supplements might do well to listen to this song. Thelyrics are incredibly painful as Love wallows: “We all get our glory / Alittle bit of fame / But there’s no truth at the heart of any of it / Justthe brilliance and the passion and the bitterness remain.” Though how theline, “I’m the centre of the universe,” fits into this defeats me. Still, Lovestill manages to turn depressed lyrics into feel-good therapeutic release,which leads perfectly into the tinged radio-rock of Sunset Strip.
Just as the album appears to peter into middle-agedpsychoanalysis, out slams All The Drugs. The riff is classic and simple, abastard of grunge and nu-rock, proving that while knocking on the age of 40, Ms Love stillhas it.
After Almost Golden, I’ll Do Anything pops up. You’ll have to askCourtney about this one. First off, it’s Smells Like Teen Spiritunashamedly, even down to replicating feedback and the fade away. Andwith lines like, “Give me white boy skinny / Give me big black man / Give medick / Give me speed,” one suddenly does warm to the “f**k up” slurs thrown Love’sway.
Sombre yet sleazy, Life Without God is dirty bar roomrock. We’re talking about Courtney on the bar, bra straps slipped to hershoulders, knickers round her ankles, dripping whisky from her mouth. Everygarage rock act with a “The” moniker is made irrelevant. This is garagerock. And nobody does it better than Courtney, even if at one point sheseems to be pigging on a Dime bar.
Many doubted America’s Sweetheart would see the lightof the day. Admittedly some parts are wishy washy, and whatever Courtney ison has wandered onto the album for some few, and thankfully, far betweenmoments. However, hopefully this will get her togetherand give her something to focus on. Rock doesn’t need another tragic, self-destructing casualty.