Former junky Courtney Love leads what has been the return and reformation of her career launching band, Hole. After the release of the supposedly disastrous America’s Sweetheart, many expected a more refined sounding record from Love and within a year, statements were made she was working on How Dirty Girls Get Clean, her second stab in her initiation as a solo act. Even though America’s Sweetheart was surrounded by continuous rehab bookings and publicly offensive behavior, it turned out to be a fan favorite, regardless of its low sales, its negative response and her claims of it being released against her will, and still in demo stages. The working title, How Dirty Girls Get Clean, was pushed back several times until it was put on hold so Love could focus fully in her recovery from alcohol abuse and drug addiction. When the record was de-shelved, Courtney thought the songs could only be released under her the band’s name, Hole, and became what today is Nobody’s Daughter, Hole’s first set of new material in twelve years.

Love finally addresses the death of her late husband, Nirvana’s frontman Kurt Cobain. Quite evident in ‘Pacific Coast highway’, in lines when she states, ‘With your gun in my hands…your whole world is my hands’, notably suggesting Cobain’s suicide. Also, the widow cry ‘Honey’, where she waves him a sad goodbye as ‘he goes down, down’.

The record shines in ‘Samantha’ with the repeated ‘F’ word throughout a solid hook, it is utterly badass and a tremendous riot. Courtney recalls her dark past in ‘Skinny Little Bitch’, refraining from addressing it in first person as it does not reflect who she is now.  In ‘For Once in Your Life’, Courtney sings over a soft drum thump and a gracefully stable guitar play; she indeed ‘builds a world’ with the undercurrent of this song. The moody ‘Someone Else’s Bed’ where she rambles between calling upon the end of the world and from claiming to never saying she would die for anyone after a failed relationship. ‘Letter to God’ features Linda Perry’s songwriting abilities, and transforms the song from a subtle questioning prayer to a strangely ‘thank-you’ note when it ends. The aggressive ‘How Dirty Girls Get Cleaned’, is a guitar-drum face-off and the album’s closer ‘Never Go Hungry’ is just Courtney and her guitar; it is legitimate and human.

Love’s vocals sound husky and gritty, obviously worn off through the years and the abuse of illegal substances, but it fits the emotion of the record like a glove. The instrumentation is classic rock; it is very 90’s. It is garage rock with deeply thought lyrics. The tracks alone could easily work as a poem documenting highs and lows in Love’s past and present.

Nobody’s Daughter has a little glisten from their past hits, restructured to reaffirm their classic sound but at the same time offering something special. It redeems the band and most appreciably, it redeems Courtney Love, from her personal and professional endeavors during her not so gleaming instances. The former title of the record could have done this one justice, as it indeed shows the dirty girl coming clean. In reference to one of the album’s verses, Nobody’s Daughter is ‘something perfect yet so rare’.

★★★★1/2

C.Perez