Courtney Love is nearly finished with her first album since 2004's "America's Sweetheart," her lone release under a much-trumpeted deal with Virgin. The artist is now signed to producer Linda Perry's

Courtney Love is nearly finished with her first album since 2004's "America's Sweetheart," her lone release under a much-trumpeted deal with Virgin. The artist is now signed to producer Linda Perry's Custard imprint; Perry has also been behind the boards on the as-yet-untitled new album, due sometime next year.

"Courtney is the queen of rock'n'roll to me," Perry tells Billboard. "Damn it all to hell. She is the last one." If Perry has her way, the embattled Love will regain her throne. Sober for a year-plus, Love says she's more than ready. After a string of drug and assault charges, she says it was jail or rehab. "I was backed up against a wall," she says. "I had f*ckin' nothing."

Perry and Love first worked together on "America's Sweetheart," a project Love admits was doomed for two reasons: She was high as a kite, and the label didn't understand the album. Perry finally walked out on Love at that time. "I said, 'When you want to make music, give me a call,'" Perry says.

Love called her from rehab. Perry brought her a guitar. "My hand-eye coordination was so bad, I didn't even know chords anymore," Love says. "It was like my fingers were frozen. And I wasn't allowed to make noise [in rehab]. So I'd sit there and try to quietly write and struggle. I never thought I would work again. No one is ever going to talk to me. I'm never going to get a record deal. I'm never going to get on stage again. So, I just kept writing. This is a very personal album."

The set features a sequel to Perry's Christina Aguilera hit "Beautiful" titled "Letter to God," which Perry wrote at the same time as "Beautiful." Love and Perry "Courtnified" the song, recasting it in minor chords and adding what Perry calls "Courtney swagger." Billy Corgan also lent his hand to a few tracks.

"I think we made a beautiful, vibey, magical record," Perry says. "Courtney Love's name should be right next to Bob Dylan when they say best lyricist of all time."

Love says that now that she's clean, she's looking at movie scripts and would consider doing a play in London. She also has a hardcover book of her diaries and letters coming out next month. "It's an insight into how I think. Not sure that's a good thing or not. But it's me."

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