Say the name Courtney Love and one thing is certain: people either love her or hate her. I’ve definitely loved her more than I’ve hated her, but if I’m being honest the thought of ever meeting her scares the shit out of me.
One thing I do know is that she was a huge part of a band that released one of my all time top ten desert island must own records. She divided Nirvana fans and music journalists alike, all certain that she was either a genius and Kurt’s perfect other half or the spawn of Satan himself. What I do know is that their 1994 album, Live Through This, released shortly after the death of her husband and only a couple of months before the death of Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff, became the haunting soundtrack to the shock and grief felt that year.
Listen to their debut album though and the talent is undeniable. If you read any band interviews or gig reviews back then it was clear that the whole Nirvana connection may have actually been a handicap, one which stopped people from giving them the credit they deserved and instead saw many dismiss Courtney and her band as simply riding the wave of Kurt’s success. In fact the band had a lot of early indie success and were media darlings in the U.K., so much so that Love initially thought that she would be the more famous one in her relationship with Cobain.
We all know that Courtney cleaned her act up and went all “Hollywood” for a brief period of time, but listening to their old albums there was just such a raw and honest grit, at times it was even uncomfortable or disconcerting to listen to, and that’s what I loved. Personally, Live Through This spoke to me in some way more than even the music of Nirvana did. I didn’t get all the angst and frustration but I did get what it was to be a woman. And strong ballsy women have always appealed to me, so crazy psycho or genius, Courtney and this band just rocked the shit out of really fucking excellent songs.
I tossed up between Malibu, a standout and long time favourite single from the Celebrity Skin album which was released after Courtney had her makeover, or an older song, and it’s not surprising which video won. Here’s to all the ballsy women rocking it out there.