Broken Baby Doll

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As recording artists, Hole was far from stagnant in the 1990s. 1991's Pretty on the Inside was blistering alternative metal, 1994's Live Through This was aggressive yet melodic grunge, and 1998's Celebrity Skin favored accessible pop-metal and power pop. Recorded live at the Moore Theater in Seattle on November 14, 1994, Broken Baby Doll is among the numerous bootlegs that resulted from Hole's Nirvana-minded grunge period. There are various reasons why this isn't one of Hole's more exciting or impressive bootlegs. For one thing, the sound quality isn't perfect -- it's decent, but not perfect. And the words "decent but not perfect" also describe Hole's 75-minute set. Between songs, Courtney Love describes the Seattle residents in the Moore as a "strange audience," and she speaks the truth because the crowd fails to provide the sort of consistent, enthusiastic applause that Hole was used to getting in 1994 -- more like scattered screams here and there. That may explain why Love doesn't give 100 percent during a set that includes the Live Through This album in its entirety as well as "Teenage Whore" (from 1991's blistering Pretty on the Inside) and Duran Duran's "Hungry Like a Wolf." If Love is giving 100 percent on other bootlegs from Hole's grunge period, she sounds like she's only giving 70 or 80 percent here. Love's performances aren't bad, but they aren't her most enthusiastic or inspired either. And because there are many Hole bootlegs that boast excellent sound and first-rate performances, Broken Baby Doll can only be recommended to completists.

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