A decade later, Love sounds a lot like the nostalgic boomers she once decried. Obsessed with old-fashioned notions of rock stardom, and openly fretting that rock is dead, the most shameless name dropper in popular music ("I really did hang out with Russell Crowe") devotes much of America's Sweetheart to ransacking rock 'n' roll history in a search for meaning as fruitless as a middle-aged man looking for answers by digging out his old childhood baseball-card collection. The litany of rock-school references is endless: "Gabba gabba hey," "all of tomorrow's parties," "fun fun fun," "all my love's in vain," "the song remains the same."
From "Teenage Whore" to "Violet," Love has frequently managed to pin down the conflicted psychodrama of her life with off-kilter lucidity. But it's neither
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These tracks are at least preferable to the mellow, SoCal Courtney who apes the guitar figure for "Needle and the Damage Done" on "Sunset Strip," or whose closing power ballad, "Never Gonna Be the Same" rivals Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" in pure cheese content. Only the new-wavey "The Zeplin Song," where Love mocks classic-rock's old guard, strikes the right sardonic tone. Of course, it would have been timelier - and funnier - 30 years ago. Not unlike Love herself. •