Saturday, July 9, 2011

Burn Out Every Inch

It's been a while since we had a music post. So, let's take the opportunity to wish a Happy 47th Birthday to Courtney Love!

Honestly, I'm kind of surprised that she's made it to 47 years. It seems as if she's been about to fall over the edge for the last twenty years. But I'm happy she's still with us. Her voice has always had a rough appeal to me. The way it goes from growl to groan to shriek over the course of a song may not be beautiful, but it is definitely expressive.

When I first heard her in the early '90s, Courtney's voice had a distinct quality of timbre and annunciation. I didn't like it, but I found it interesting. Likewise, I found her songs crude and blunt, but there was a fascinating self-revelation to her performance, sometimes brazen exhibitionism and sometimes awkward exposure. Over the years, I've grown to appreciate her music.

So, here's hoping for health and prosperity for Courtney. May she continue creating such engaging music for many years to come!

Now, let's listen to some music.

I can remember the release of Live Through This. Just a few days earlier, Kurt Cobain had killed himself. The media was all abuzz over the event and focusing intense scrutiny at Courtney Love. I felt really bad for her. When I heard "Doll Parts", I was struck the sense of despair and loss. It's a simple song, but it packs some intense angst.

The first Hole song that I actually liked, as opposed to appreciated, was "Malibu", released in '98. It's every bit as sorrowful as any of their other songs, but delivers it with a deceptively playful sound. It's polished and energetic, but somewhat delirious in the incongruity between the tune and the lyrics. The nihilism of the words undercuts the glib pop music delivery.

As for her solo work on America's Sweetheart, I think it has some strong qualities, but there's a wildness to the production and performance. It feels like the drugs and craziness are taking over. "Mono" is the only song that sounds authentically Courtney.

The 2010 album Nobody's Daughter has less drugged out mess, but doesn't get back to the '90s quality. The title song has a compelling mood.

In any case, here's a link to Courtney Love's Wikipedia page.


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