"I sing and play in my own way," proclaims model and notorious girlfriend of rock stars Bebe Buell in the autobiographical "Heartbeat" on her album Hard Love. Her way, not surprisingly, is a style of serviceable mainstream guitar rock of a kind that could have been made any time since 1966, but is most associated with the New York branch of the punk new wave of the '70s, Buell's heyday on the rock scene. She discusses that period in her song lyrics, not only including "Heartbeat" (in which "backstage" rhymes with "lied about my age"), but also in "Normal Girl," which she claims to be and certainly is, as long as your definition of being a normal girl includes living in New York City, dressing exclusively in black, and hanging out at CBGB's. She also settles old scores in "Got It All Wrong" and reminisces about a famous deceased paramour in "Black Angel." And all this is after opening the proceedings by declaring herself the "Mother of Rock & Roll." She is abetted primarily by producer Jimmy Walls, who also plays guitar and co-wrote most of the songs, along with drummer Bobbie Rae. Buell sings in a carry-a-tune voice that occasionally recalls Patti Smith, among other untutored but enthusiastic rock singers with limited ranges. Like her other recordings, Hard Love is not an embarrassment most of the time, but it is only really interesting as an addendum to the singer's racy reputation. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

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