unregistered, on november 03, 2003 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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. // 8
Overall Impression: 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). // 10
Destari, on may 21, 2004 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Celebrity Skin, Hole's sixth and final album released back in 1998 from grunge and post-grunge record label god Geffen, is, at a glance, an average pop album of the late nineties. For die-hard Hole fans, however, the final album may be in itself as unsatisfying as rock bitch and front woman Courtney Love's solo career and as bland as Melissa Auf Der Maur's one-woman bass entrepreneurship, in some ways leaving a gaping hole and a sense of disappointment in place of fulfilment. And yet, Celebrity Skin is a delightful, unabashedly pure trip the power-mad bitchiness, and who better a guide than Courtney Love to take us through that? If one reads Celebrity Skin not as an instalment, but instead as an entity in its own right, it is easy to see the progression. Less raw than previous albums and as equally driving, in parts even more so, Celebrity Skin is an album to enjoy, from the pounding bass line behind Use Once & Destroy to the unashamedly driving crunchy guitar chords opening Reasons to be Beautiful and then to the gentle acoustic chords with orchestral accompaniments of Northern Star, Celebrity Skin deals well. // 8
Lyrics: Admire her junkie turned diva persona or loathe it, one has to pay tribute to Love's lyrical talents. This is Courtney's last stand, and stand she will, defiant and proud of herself, as the first track - the title track - makes clear immediately with a rousing Oh, make me over/I'm all I want to be. But for all this defiance, there are paradoxally self-hating lyrics in Awful, showing Love's awareness of her change in musical style and of other people's opinion with I was punk!/Now I'm just stupid!/I'm so awful. Remniscient of anything? How about the opening lines from Mono?
However, Courtney's hoarse and shall we say weathered vocals have remained something of a sore point for me personally. For six albums she's managed to maintain a sound of rawness and bitchiness; it's old. This isn't half a step from screaming haphazardly, albeit in tune, and the whispering at the start of Dying is like a tickle in the cochlea. Melodic yelling isn't anything new, and when she does try to sing - Dying, Northern Star - she sounds hoarse and burned out.
Overall Impression: Whilst dissimilar to all other Hole albums, Celebrity Skin isn't to be dismissed readily. Give it a go, you never know, you might like the pop thing they had going in the end. Let's not let this spoil an otherwise valiantly self-explanatory finale to a career spanning seven years, unabashedly pop and honest. On the other hand, perhaps it wouldn't have killed these guys to finish on something at least a little more memorable than Petals. Never mind, eh? // 6
unregistered, on december 17, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This album is surprisingly pop-like for this band. I was given this CD by a friend of the family who claimed it was too "soft" for him. But, I put the CD into my CD player and the first three chords of the album and "oh make me over" haunted me. I loved it. From the whiskey-howling bridge in "Northern Star" to the beginning Gretsch welcome of "Malibu", this album is as close to perfect as Courtney Love could possibly make it. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics of this album are genius. No sugar coated love lyrics could possibly be found anywhere on this album (except "Heaven Tonight"). Most, if not all of this album was written about Kurt Cobain (Courtney's late husband) and her agony she suffered from his suicide and the hate she had against him. One song comes to mind, "Northern Star". In this complex song of multiple chords it is Courtney, a guitar, a violin orchestra, and a few loud bangs, she is screaming during the middle bridge: "And I want you, and blessed are the broken, and I beg you, no lonliness, no misery is worth you, oh, tear your heart out, cold as ice, it's mine". Hands down these lyrics are perfect! // 10
Overall Impression: When I found out I was listening to Courtney Love's band I was amazed. I had this image of her band being horrible and talentless, but this proved me very wrong. The music is organized, catchy, melodic, and sometimes raw. If you listen to the entire album at least once, I promise you will have at least one of the songs stuck in your head. This may be Hole's best album. The melodic guitar riffs and chords, and the calm, yet heart-wrenching vocals laid down by Courtney Love make this one of the best albums of the late '90s. // 9