“Why am I not good enough to save you from destruction?” Courtney Love sings on “Honey,” one of the strongest tracks from Hole’s comeback album, Nobody’s Daughter. It’s no secret who she’s singing about; then again, there aren’t many secrets on the disc. A raw nerve dragged against guitar strings, Daughter reopens every wound Love might have let heal since her car-wreck of a solo album, 2004’s America’s Sweetheart. That includes the death of Kurt Cobain: After “Honey” unleashes one of the most nuanced—though still cathartically screechy—vocals of Love’s career, “Pacific Coast Highway” finds her driving down the titular interstate “with your gun in my hand / your whole world is in my hands.”
The rest of the album follows the same jagged, semi-acoustic groove. On the standout track, “Samantha,” Love employs some of her toothiest, tawdriest double entendres before busting into a corrosive chorus of “People like you fuck people like me.” Oddly enough, the three songs that attempt to revive Hole’s former glory—including the punky single “Skinny Little Bitch”—are the ones that sound flabby and forced; without founding guitarist Eric Erlandson, Hole is barely Hole at this point. Overall, though, Daughter pretty much nails the Patti Smith-meets-Stevie Nicks rasp Love has long aimed for. It’s also a harrowing document of a damaged, erratic pop star who’s come up for air long enough to tell the tale.