"America's Sweetheart" (Virgin; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The media's target du jour was brutalized by many critics for this solo release and, from what I hear on "America's Sweetheart," it was an unfair drubbing Ms. Love took.

"America's Sweetheart" delivers what you'd expect from the notorious Courtney Love. It's a raw, rough recording (albeit very well-produced) that delivers the hard edge one would expect as well as the underlying arrogance that sizzles under the surface of Love's work. It's all about rugged guitars and Love's throaty rock'n'roll grrrrl vocals and inimitable attitude. Most of the songs are dark yet vibrant rockers, such as the first track, "Mono" and the following, rage-driven "But, Julian, I'm a Little Bit Older Than You." Yet even when Love slows down on tracks like "Uncool," her genuine emotion burns through the music, taking it to the next level.

Lyrically, the album seems candidly brilliant. Still, one has to wonder if it's because we all know so much more about Courtney Love's dark side than we do most other stars. Maybe it's just too easy to see her real life drama in the words of her songs. No matter what the reason, "America's Sweetheart" is an enhanced experience if one pays particular attention to the lyrics.

Overall, "America's Sweetheart" is a surprisingly good CD from a rocker who's become better known for her troubles than her successes. That's too bad because, like her or not, it's hard to deny that Courtney Love is one talented individual.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Nov 2021 13:23:27 -0500.