Sound — 10
This album is definitely more mainstream than its predecessors, "Pretty on the Inside" and "Live Through This", but from the opening riff of the cynical, bitter title track, it is clear that Hole still write incredible songs. The music's moods are varied-from the euphoric power pop strumming hooks of "Malibu" to the delicate and cathartic acoustic arrangement of "Northern Star" to the straight up rock of "Reasons to be Beautiful". A truly fantastic instrumental blend of synthesiser and guitar.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are fairly basic but convey the mood very well. With such powerful, poignant songs such as "Boys on the Radio", it demonstrates the sugar coated despair found in many of the tracks on here. Many sound happy and naive at first but upon really listening to them you get to understand that most of the songs here have very subtle undertones of desparation and unhappiness. Billy Corgan co-wrote many of the tracks, and his incredible flair for songwriting shines through as well as Courtney's much ignored talent.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is very much "Pretty on the Outside", and though there are some false notes ("Playing Your Song", for instance, is pretty bad), this album shows a hidden depth and also very complex emotions in seemingly simple lyrics. Songs such as "Boys on the Radio", "Malibu", "Awful" and "Celebrity Skin" show that the seemingly superficial and sell-out esque makeover of Hole has not yet tapped into the talent and brilliance of this band. It really is worth buying. And regardless of what anyone says, Courtney is gorgeous, and the bassist, Melissa Auf der Maur (They all have such great names).