Courtney Love – America’s Sweetheart

“Shock me, shock me, shock me, with that deviant behavior.” There are a few out there who I know will appreciate this quote. Sadly, there are also many out there who will not, for them I am sad. I’ll get over it soon enough though. I think we can all agree that Courtney Love is not the most predictable, calm, reserved, or sane individual roaming planet Earth. Her antics have found their way to the front pages of a many tabloids and websites, and with good reason. The relationship she had with Kurt Cobain instigated this call to fame or notoriety Love seems to cloak herself with. Usually, I like to try to separate an artist’s habits and lifestyle from his/her music. If I did not do this then I would be left excessively disappointed and would not be able to enjoy much of the music I love. For instance, if I was not able to put aside the drugged up ways of the boys of Television I may not be such a fan of their amazingly good music.

Still, sometimes it is extremely difficult not to identify an artist as an amalgamation of his/her music, personal past, and personal present. This is evident by the excessive amount of media attention given to the personal lives of these beings. I, myself, find it extremely difficult to pull Love’s music away from her oh so deviant ways. I do not mean to say that her behavior is shocking in that sometimes necessary “open your eyes and quit being so stringent about rules” way. It is shocking as in appalling. Doing drugs in front of your child is definitely something I do not condone. I do not see how anybody could defend himself or herself after doing such a horrible thing. Still, Courtney Love is not just anybody, which she has proved time and time again with her schizophrenic like regressions from glam to rock trash. Apparently, she mentioned that she thought it was fun; her daughter taking care of her drugged up mother. Before the heat of the onset of the custody battle for her child could be tamed she was a guest on Letterman promoting her new album. On the show she flashed Lettermen numerous times. It was the oddest thing I had ever seen. Just the manner in which it was done was so psychotic-like, your eyebrows furrow and you wonder what the hell is going on in this bra-less women’s mind.

Well now that I have made it clear that I do not in anyway support her actions, I will say that I do love her voice. I loved it in Live Through This, I loved it in Celebrity Skin, and I love it in America’s Sweetheart. Talk about oxymorons, right? The artwork for this album is cool and sweet. It romanticizes Love in a way that is sexy, adoring, and powerful (the inside artwork is more angelic and alluring than the cover). Even the cover insert background color is a caring light pink. It makes me want to pull on my thigh highs, put my mic in the mic stand, strap on my Jesse Michaels model GPC and play (not in front of anyone, mind you). 

While this solo album is slightly different from Hole’s Celebrity Skin, it is not a big stretch. “Hold On To Me,” “Sunset Strip” (especially the guitar parts) falls in line with the Celebrity Skin tone. For those who found the last Hole album too slow, fear not for “All The Drugs” has much heavier guitar parts than the songs mentioned above. Track seven gladly veers toward the punk rock genre. The ninth song of the album is reminiscent of old school punk rock (Richard Hell or MC5) with the wavering and almost screeching voices and dirtied guitars. While tracks seven and nine hold special places in my heart, my true love is “But Julian, I’m a Little Bit Older Than You.” With the “oi’s” and the “gabba gabba hey’s” I cannot help but rid myself from the knowledge of Love’s horrible antics. The album is much calmer than I expected. I was looking forward to hearing a few more screams from the thorny but sweet throat of Courtney Love. I was also hoping for some faster paced, jump up and down, play till your metal strings break kind of songs. This album does not parallel Love’s bizarre and erratic behavior in the least. This is a classic case of when one needs to separate an artist’s personal habits from his/her music in order to enjoy the work and avoid feeling like a traitor.

(Virgin Records)

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