A friend of mine once said I looked like Courtney Love. I was appalled at the comparison: Love was/is renowned for being tempestuous and obscene. I shrugged it off, putting it down to a) being drunk, and b) having smudged my lipstick across my face.
Last year as a birthday present I received some of Hole‘s albums . After some intensive listening to Live Through This, Celebrity Skin and Nobody’s Daughter, I realised that I LOVED Courtney Love. I had been a fool to shun any kind of comparison to her (I really don’t look like her though, especially since I cut my hair.) Hole is the official soundtrack to my celebrations and my shame – both sober and span-dangled.
Unfortunately, this love cannot remain blind. Love has a vast amount of people who dislike her. In her new memoir Girl In a Band, Kim Gordon discusses the time Love randomly punched lead-singer of Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna, in the face at a Nirvana concert. When I read these stories – I question my admiration for her.
It also breaks my heart that Love insists she’s not a feminist. Hole’s second album Live Through This is practically a lengthy attack on the objectification of women. The lyrics to ‘Asking for it’, a track about victim blaming/sexual consent, are still shockingly relevant today. The only song that’s anti-feminist is ‘Rock Star’ (which is a shame, because it’s super catchy). I don’t know why Courtney publicly rejects association with feminist issues when they permeate most of her songs in one way or another.
There are arguments that she can’t sing and that she’s slept her way to success. Her marriage to Kurt Cobain was always controversial. I recently watched Nirvana’s Live at Reading DVD (1992). Kurt dedicated All Apologies to Courtney, and then asked the crowd to recite ‘We Love you Courtney’ because he wanted to show her that people still loved her as much as he did. Publicity stunt or not, that took guts. Cobain believed that women were the future of rock music, and his wife has proved that women can and will endure anything for the love of music.
Love her, or hate her; Courtney Love is a charismatic and confident performer, commanding attention wherever she goes. She doesn’t sugar-coat. Lyrics like ‘If you were on fire, I would just throw kerosene’ (‘Samantha’) are so psychopathic and cruel they dazzle me; she says the things I’m too frightened to say. She terrifies and mesmerises me.