Hole - Celebrity Skin

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1999-03-29

When last we saw Courtney Love, she was performing on the silver screen and posing for Versace, a far cry from her formative days stumbling across stages wearing ripped thrift-store clothing. But Love's Hollywood transformation is just the latest in her crusade for adoration, whatever the environment. And Celebrity Skin is just the latest manifestation of that obsession. Instead of screaming in rage over a muscular din of power chords, Love sings in a restrained, melodic alto voice; the band matches the euphony with rhythms and hooks that draw from such mainstream acts as Fleetwood Mac, the Go-Go's, and, of course, Smashing Pumpkins, whose frontman, Billy Corgan, co-wrote five songs. What makes Celebrity Skin more than another good rock album, however, is Love's lyrics, which remain confessional and scathing, addressing such topics as physical abuse ("Hit So Hard"), drugs ("Use Once and Destroy"), the music industry ("Awful", "Boys on the Radio"), and her late husband's suicide ("Reasons to Be Beautiful"). If nothing else, Celebrity Skin is proof to all the skeptics that superstars have feelings, too. --Jon Wiederhorn

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