The merch version of America’s Sweetheart is different from the advance. The changes aren’t just in sequencing or final mix, as can happen; they include lyrical rewrites, epic centerpiece “Sunset Strip” in particular. It now exclaims, “It was easy going up it’s so hard going down,” which shows at least a clear grasp on Courtney’s situation.
So much for the good news. The formerly “shredded” valentines are now “useless”—a failure of empathy that guts the song. Sweetened up and hubrised down, this version changes “Girls like me always get what we want” to never—boohoo. The heroic list of scrips is now only semi-heroic; goodbye to much-quoted “pills for my coochie ‘cuz baby I’m sore” (all healed up, I suppose). Worse, the song features a frickin’ pedal steel, and the vocals replay it safe. In the advance, Courtney charges octaves she has no hope of climbing; trying to get to heaven before the sun comes up, she staggers halfway to Griffith Observatory. That’s the song’s ragged glory; that’s what it’s about. Maybe Ms. Love will generously post the original somewhere under the name “Sunset Strip (demo)” for everyone who supported their local record shop only to discover you can’t buy a thrill.
Joshua Clover reviews the Original Promo Version of Courtney Love’s America’s Sweetheart
Amy Phillips reviews the Commercially Available Version of America’s Sweetheart