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Classic Album Review: Auf der Maur | Auf der Maur

The MVP bassist makes it clear she's better suited to being a sidekick than a star.

This came out in 2004 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


There are sidekicks and there are stars. Melissa Auf der Maur— who spent years backing Courtney Love in Hole and Billy Corgan in Smashing Pumpkins — certainly knows the difference. And with her self-titled solo debut, the corkscrew-haired, badass bassist makes it clear which one she is. Unfortunately.

While these dozen cuts rework Melissa’s resumé with their post-grunge wallop and post-grad artsiness, they possess neither the confrontational sexuality of Hole nor the overdriven melancholy of the Pumpkins (though she’s closer to the latter on psychedelic metal like Lightning is My Girl). Even worse, her songs are noticeably lacking in anything resembling strong hooks or choruses. Like many a novice, Auf der Maur tends to overdo it; between their meandering arrangements, layers of overdubs and obsessively detailed production, these tracks are far too busy for their own good — and for Auf der Maur’s lightweight Kim Deal voice. Ultimately, what catches your ear are things she’s borrowed — the Paranoid lyrics in I’ll Be Anything You Want, the Barracuda riff and Veruca Salt vibe of Skin Receiver, the PretendersZep swagger of I Need I Want I Will. Even on her own CD, it seems, Melissa ends up playing sidekick to the stars.