Dirty, rotten, filthy, stinking: Yep, Courtney Love is the perfect person to replace Warrant’s gone-solo mess of a man Jani Lane. But not because our favorite car crash in thigh-highs can smoke cigarettes through her nostrils or launch loogies with NASA-worthy thrust. As her new America’s Sweetheart proves once and for all, Love is a hair-metal hottie at heart, hellbent on reclaiming the Sunset Strip from those actorly a-holes on Celebrities Uncensored. But if you think Love’s a suicide blonde, you’re being suckered, sucker: She may be out of control and a really lousy mom, but Love loves herself far too much to want to join Kurt in the dirt. The numerous references to drinkin’ and druggin’ on America’s Sweetheart are really just motley demonstrations that her life is more fun than yours. Add that glam-style narcissism to thunderous power chords, stick-twirl showboat drumming, and Rainbow Room rowdiness and—hell, who needs Chinese Democracy anyway? This slickly produced disc sells the party lifestyle hard, and if you’re a 15-year-old boy with a raging woody, you couldn’t ask for a better hostess. First single “Mono” mixes classic Hole punk-rock crunch with arena-rock sonics, as Love, slurring and joke-slinging like that hot drunk girl at the karaoke bar, sings, “Give us brilliant boys that we want to fuck, man/Full of Ecstasy, hard drugs, and bad luck, yeah, yeah, yeah.” On “I’ll Do Anything”—set to a riff completely ripped off from “Smells Like Teen Spirit”—she adds to the list of demands, craving dudes (“Give me white boy skinny/Give me big black men”), drugs (“Give me speed”), and some back-door action (“Give it from behind”). Even such hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold slow(er) numbers as “Never Gonna Be the Same” and “Uncool” (written with Bernie Taupin!) have deliciously insincere power-ballad vibes. Of course, insincerity suits Love—better than sincerity did back in the Lollapalooza days, even. It’s no surprise that the disc’s best track is the tingly “Sunset Strip,” a midtempo metal-pop gem complete with Golden State harmonies about having everything and nothing at all. When Courtney wearily sings, “Crashing down the boulevard/I’m coming down so fast/I’m coming down so hard,” it’s not a warning. It’s a love letter. —Sean Daly

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