Celebrity Skin is the third studio album by American alternative rock band Hole, released worldwide on September 7, 1998 on Geffen Records and one day later in the United States on DGC Records. Hole intended the record to diverge significantly from their previous noise and grunge-influenced sound as featured on Pretty on the Inside (1991) and Live Through This (1994). In order to produce a cleaner, polished and more radio friendly pop rock sound, the band hired producer Michael Beinhorn to record Celebrity Skin over a nine month period that included the band recording in California, New York and the United Kingdom.
The album was the band's first studio release to feature bassist Melissa Auf der Maur following the death of former bassist Kristen Pfaff in June 1994. Unlike the material on the band's previous albums, the songs on Celebrity Skin were composed by a number of musicians instead of solely frontwoman Courtney Love and lead guitarist Eric Erlandson. The Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan contributed largely to the album's writing process and others, including Auf der Maur's former bandmate Jordon Zadorozny, contributed to its composition. Celebrity Skin was the original band's last album before their disbandment in 2002.
Celebrity Skin is Hole's most commercially successful album. To date, it has sold over 1,400,000 copies in the United States alone, has been certified as platinum in Australia, Canada and the United States and garnered Hole a number one hit single on the Modern Rock Tracks chart with the title track, "Celebrity Skin." Critical reaction to the album was largely positive and the album was listed on a number of publications' year-end lists in 1998.
Upon its release, Celebrity Skin received positive critical acclaim. Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine said the album was "a glaze of shiny guitars and hazy melodies, all intended to evoke the heyday of Californian pop in the late '70s," awarding the album three and a half stars out of five. Former Village Voice and Pazz and Jop writer Robert Christgau rated it two out of three stars, an "honorable mention," noted that Love was "better punk than actress, better actress than popster" and listed the title track and "Awful" as the album's notable songs. Robert Cherry of the Alternative Press described Celebrity Skin's sound as "meticulously orchestrated guitars, multilayered vocal harmonies, quantized drums and sheeny studio magic" and said the songs "hit nerve centers like a thousand AM classics." The Austin Chronicle's Marc Savlov awarded the album three and a half stars out of five and referred to the album as "end of the summer crunch-pop from the most enigmatic woman around" but criticised Love's "painful, quasi-Freudian vein" and "Michael Beinhorn's slick, SoCal production." Tom Edwards of Drowned in Sound gave the album an 8/10 rating and a mixed review, referring to "Awful" as "gorgeous, pure blues" and "Hit So Hard" as "the best song about love since 'Retard Girl'," but concluding that "it's a weak record full of empty music either way." Entertainment Weekly reviewer David Browne said "the music is sleeker and more taut than anything Hole have done" in his C+ review. The Los Angeles Times awarded the album a full four star rating, with reviewer Robert Hilburn calling the album "one wild emotional ride" and "a far more complex work than the invigorating, mainstream coating would lead you to believe." Steve Sutherland of NME mentioned that "the first thing you think when Celebrity Skin smacks you in the nose is that you may never need to hear a rock 'n' roll record ever again," compared the album's sound to Fleetwood Mac and rated the album 8/10. Rolling Stone awarded the album four out of five stars and described it as "sprung, flung and fun, high-impact, rock-fueled pop" and noted that "it teems with sonic knockouts that make you see all sorts of stars and is accessible, fiery and intimate – often at the same time," while Spin reviewer Joshua Clover rated the album 9/10 and referred to the album as "a record filled with quotation and reference, backtalk and revision" and said "there are too many great songs, and this is a magnificent pop record." Several publications also listed Celebrity Skin in year-end periodical lists, including Time, who listed the album ag number 9 on its Best Of 1998 Music list, Spin, who listed the album ag number 11 on its Top 20 Albums of the Year list, and The Village Voice, who listed the album at number 14 in the Pazz and Jop Critics' Poll.
Celebrity Skin was a commercial success, charting in 13 countries worldwide within a week of its release. In the United States, the album debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 86,000 copies in its first week. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on October 13, 1998 and later certified Platinum on December 21, with sales of over 1 million copies. As of 2010, the album has sold over 1.4 million copies in the United States and 124,221 copies in the United Kingdom. The album has also been certified Platinum in Canada with sales of over 100,000 copies and two times Platinum in Australia with sales of over 140,000 copies.
The album received three nominations at the 41st Grammy Awards in 1999: Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. "Malibu" later received a Grammy nomination at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000 for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. and its music video, and the director Martin Coppen, was also nominated for Best Cinematography at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. In 2002, the music video for "Malibu", and its cinematographer, won the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award in Cinematography from the Music Video Production Association.
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