Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Pretty on the Inside [Caroline, 1991] ***
  • Live Through This [DGC, 1994] A
  • Ask for It [Caroline, 1995] ***
  • Celebrity Skin [Geffen, 1998] **
  • Nobody's Daughter [Mercury, 2010] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Pretty on the Inside [Caroline, 1991]
Nightmare on Gurl Street, or Beyond the Valley of the Sonic Youth ("Teenage Whore," "Clouds") ***

Live Through This [DGC, 1994]
Punk aesthetic or no punk aesthetic, Courtney Love's songs wouldn't be compromised and might be deepened by steeper momentum and more articulate guitar noise. But they prevail anyway. Their focus is sexual exploitation, and not just by the media, evil straights, and male predators of every cultural orientation. She's also exploited by Courtney Love, and not only does she know it, she thinks about it. These are the confessions of a self-made feminist bimbo--of the girl who wanted the most cake. Just because she's a phony, whatever that means, doesn't mean the world isn't out to deny her her props. A

Ask for It [Caroline, 1995]
well before Live Through This, her outtakes have it going on ("Pale Blue Eyes," "Over the Edge") ***

Celebrity Skin [Geffen, 1998]
Better punk than actress, better actress than popster ("Celebrity Skin," "Awful"). **

Nobody's Daughter [Mercury, 2010]
Most people don't like her, and actually, I don't either. So I can't claim you owe it to yourself to enjoy Courtney Love's much-delayed first-album-since-2004. Nor even that these songs cast a revealing light of her scabrous persona--beyond "Pacific Coast Highway" ("I'm overwhelmed and undersexed") and "Never Go Hungry" ("I don't care what I have to pretend"), they're typical wails of punk-schooled rage from "Skinny Little Bitch" to "Letter to God." Thing is, I can use some new punk rage in my life, and unless you're a fan of Goldman Sachs and BP Petroleum, so can you. What's more, better it come from a 45-year-old woman who knows how to throw her weight around than from the zitty newbies and tattooed road dogs who churn most of it out these days. I know--for her, BP Petroleum is just something else to pretend about. But the emotion fueling her pretense is cathartic nevertheless. A-