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Rob Sheffield on Hole's 'Nobody's Daughter' and More New Reviews

April 27, 2010 7:00 AM ET

Courtney Love may have blown out her voice in the eight years since she last released an album under the name Hole, but she hasn't lost her ability to rivet us with tales of rock & roll woe. Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield calls the band's new disc Nobody's Daughter "mellow grunge" in his three-star review, noting that Love worked hard on this set of songs, but fell a bit short of a true comeback.

"For some fans, going back to the Hole name is an admission of defeat," Sheffield writes. "But it's more likely she's calling herself Hole to play down the Courtney Love cartoon — and remind everyone (including herself) that she first made her mark as a musician." Love, with assistance from Billy Corgan and Linda Perry, returns to her '90s sound on Nobody's Daughter, which is a welcome departure from 2004's disastrous America's Sweetheart. "The lyrics are about junkies or sluts, or sometimes both, as in 'Skinny Little Bitch,' " Sheffield notes. Other standouts include "Samantha" and "Pacific Coast Highway." Overall, the LP isn't a complete success, Sheffield writes, "but it's a noble effort."

Fresh off their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Iggy and the Stooges are unleashing the deluxe reissue for their hard-driving third album Raw Power , which reunites listeners with the "vicious beauty" of co-producer David Bowie's 1973 mix of the LP. "Finally, the third and most brutal album from these Detroit legends gets both the rawness and the power it deserves," Barry Walters writes in his perfect five-star review of this legendary LP. You've likely heard "Search and Destroy" and "Shake Appeal" countless times, so the reissue adds a 1973 Atlanta show, which includes unreleased gems like "Cock in My Pocket," plus a third disc of outtakes and a "Making of Raw Power" documentary packed with interviews from Lou Reed, Henry Rollins and many more. For fans of the Stooges and Raw Power, this is a must-have set.

Melissa Etheridge also returns with a new disc this week, Fearless Love , the singer/songwriter's "fiercest disc since her 1988 debut," Walters writes in his three-and-a-half star review. On "The Wanting of You," "Etheridge sets 'Born to Run' riffs against a tale of a married woman who constantly lusts for another," which seems to foreshadow Etheridge's own recent personal troubles — she announced that her nine-year relationship with Tammy Lynn Michaels ended last week. Fearless Love reminds fans that Etheridge is at her best "when she brings both intensity and compassion."

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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