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Celebrity Skin

445 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 8, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

When last we saw Courtney Love, she was performing on the silver screen and posing for Versace, a far cry from her formative days stumbling across stages wearing ripped thrift-store clothing. But Love's Hollywood transformation is just the latest in her crusade for adoration, whatever the environment. And Celebrity Skin is just the latest manifestation of that obsession. Instead of screaming in rage over a muscular din of power chords, Love sings in a restrained, melodic alto voice; the band matches the euphony with rhythms and hooks that draw from such mainstream acts as Fleetwood Mac, the Go-Go's, and, of course, Smashing Pumpkins, whose frontman, Billy Corgan, cowrote five songs. What makes Celebrity Skin more than another good rock album, however, is Love's lyrics, which remain confessional and scathing, addressing such topics as physical abuse ("Hit So Hard"), drugs ("Use Once and Destroy"), the music industry ("Awful," "Boys on the Radio"), and her late husband's suicide ("Reasons to Be Beautiful"). If nothing else, Celebrity Skin is proof to all the skeptics that superstars have feelings, too. --Jon Wiederhorn


...[T]he punk-rocker turned Vogue glamor queen abandons her old shock attack and opts for a surprisingly appealing pop-rock sound.... -- People

Celebrity Skin is likely to piss off anyone still indulging in the fantasy of Courtney [Love] as punk Goddess/feminist Fury; if you want the howl and the open wound, you'll have to dredge Puget Sound. In exchange for the astonishing consistency of mood that made Live Through This a breakwater of '90s rock, Celebrity Skin produces a cataract of great songs, spectacularly polished. -- Spin

The songs ricochet from desolation to fury to pride; Ms. Love's lyrics agonize over the way people let themselves be used and the way rebellion turns into a commodity. They also mourn a lover who was sincere, self-destructive, trusting, beautiful, violent and impossible to save: a version of Cobain that verges on punk hagiography. -- The New York Times

This album is one wild emotional ride.... [T]he gloriously melodic, pop-rock sheen of the best moments in this follow-up collection are going to leave lots of Hole fans puzzled. But don't be misled. Courtney Love may be embracing power pop, but she hasn't gone soft. Versace gown and all, she's still got a fiery rock 'n'roll heart. -- The Los Angeles Times

[Celebrity Skin] is sprung, flung and fun, high-impact, rock-fueled pop.... [It] teems with sonic knockouts that make you see all sorts of stars. It's accessible, fiery, and intimate.... -- Rolling Stone

[Courtney Love] sounds less razor-edged, more anonymous. From start to almost finish, Celebrity Skin is dogged by that same sense of vacillation and rootlessness. It's the sound of a returning hero who attempts to act as if nothing's changed--when, in fact, everything has, including the hero.... [I]ts rough edges sanded down, [this is] a singularly dispiriting experience. It's the music business' take on the current climate of celebrity makeover; aural plastic surgery. -- Entertainment Weekly

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Celebrity Skin 2:42$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. Awful (Album Version) 3:16$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Hit So Hard 4:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Malibu 3:50$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. Reasons To Be Beautiful 5:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Dying (Album Version) 3:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Use Once And Destroy 5:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Northern Star 4:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Boys On The Radio (Album Version) 5:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Heaven Tonight 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Playing Your Song 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Petals 5:28$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 8, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: September 8, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: INgrooves Fontana/Geffen
  • ASIN: B00000AFWW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (445 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,702 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Celebrity Skin is a brilliant, shimmering guitar-driven album that showcases everything from divine hallucinations induced by orgasms ("Hit So Hard") to the posthumous gross commercialization of a certain nineties icon's musical legacy ("Playing Your Song") in a style that is as serious as it is tongue-in-cheek. Undoubtedly one of the best musical works of the nineties (a list which includes their 1994 breakthrough, Live Through This), Celebrity Skin blends variety, musical genius, lyrical fortitude, and unabashed irony. Prelegend lead vocalist Courtney Love isn't afraid to illuminate her songs with intense intimacy and a self-proclaimed warped view of California crumbling into the sea, while not so much as flinching about fans' frequent accusations of selling out (which 9/10 times indicates an artist has made a great record). The real hero here, however, may be Eric Erlandson, the songwriter and man behind the axe, who has an unsurpassed ability to create sickening-sweet atmospheric riffs and (without any warning) rip into them in cutthroat, perfect punk rock form. Boasting no throwaways and a sonically perfect soundscape, the sometimes underrated Celebrity Skin is a destined classic and a must-have for all serious guitar rockers, whether you like Love's provocative persona or not...
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. G Watson VINE VOICE on February 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I want to start by saying I know jack-all about music. I am one of those silly sods who only knows what he likes, and this is a hell of an album.

As I recall, when "Celebrity Skin" hit the market it took a fairly heavy beating from all quarters. Rock critics found the album to be a bit too "glossy", fans made the usual accusations about "selling out" and the morons who write for music magazines and music television harped about its "disappointing" sales. Lost in all this furor was the fact that Hole had produced some bloody fine music if anyone cared to shut their gob and listen.

"Celebrity Skin", being a Courtney Love & Co. production, is obviously riddled with angst, cynicism, depression, desperation, melancholia and the occasional dose of rage. BFD, you say? Well, what distinguishes it from the whole punk-grunge-indie-alt mob doing exactly the same bloody thing is that Love's vocals, and more importantly the lyrics behind them, are truly first-rate. Some of the songs are so well-written they have to be read as text to be fully appreciated.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ferguson-Maltzman on October 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Courtney Love sure made a big transformation between 1994 and 1998. She went from a grunge/alternative-rock icon, better-half of Kurt Cobain, to a glamorous fashion model and all-around celebrity. I don't mean this disapprovingly, but rather just stating a fact.

Hole's music reflected the change. Abandoning the grunge/alternative sound in favor of a glossy, popish one, Hole released their third album "Celebrity Skin" in the fall of 1998.

Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) joined Love and guitarist Erick Erldandson in creating the new album (Erldandson later revealed that he disapproved of Corgan's involvement).

Compared to Hole's first two albums "Pretty on the Inside" (1991) and "Live through This" (1994), "Celebrity Skin" is far more radio-friendly, with a far glossier production. Be that as it may "Celebrity Skin" is hardly an upbeat, cheerful album. Indeed, beyond the sunny exterior lies a distinctly dark album. Many of the album's songs were written about the death of Kurt Cobain. The sharp contrast between the album's dark tones and it's sunny, glossy exterior, makes for an intriguing listen.

While not everything works, most of the album is quite strong. The Def Leppard-like title track gets the CD off to a good start. "Awful" and "Hit so Hard" are quite melodic and tuneful. The radio-staple "Malibu" (written about Cobain's last stint at a rehabilitation center there) is one of the best singles from the late 90s. The edgy "Reason's to be Beautiful" and "Use Once and Destroy" don't quite work. They would have sounded great stripped down and raw, but don't really mesh with the glossy production.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Unscathed on April 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
first of all i really cant stand how people diss hole justbecause courtney is not generally likeable or down to earth. get pastthat because hole is one of the best bands in the past 10 years and this album is a great testimony to that fact. celebrity skin starts out spitting venom with the title track, where instead of building herself into a rock monolith, she degrades her own duality and shallowness along burning riffs that make it an instant classic. next is awful, where she pokes fun at the commercialization of music and how music is made to appeal to an individual and then "royalty-rated" and sold out. it also hints at self deprecation. then comes hit so hard, a sonically awesome song either about being beaten up by your lover or as someone else suggested orgasms. either way or both ways, its a perfect song and has some really subtle but mindblowing sexual connotations. the harmonies are incredible. now comes the huge sonic soft rocker, malibu which combines pop and punk into one beautiful song about destruction and trying to salvage yourself (or someone else?) from a terrible situation. it is completely one of a kind and ive never heard anything like it before. i think few bands could pull this song off this well. the climax of the song is amazing by the way. up next is an LA anthem, reasons to be beautiful, this song agonizes over the meaning of beauty and trying to mask the pain and misery with a palette of exterior, probably autobiographical. the sleeper hit of this disc is dying, a quiet and sentimental song probably about being obsessed with your (deceased?) lover to the point of wanting to join he/she in the grave. THE BRIDGE IN THIS SONG IS AMAZING. It goes from quiet and somber to this revelation of being finished, the life is over.Read more ›
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