Music: Courtney Love
"I am, doll eyes, doll mouth, doll legsCourtney Love is the frontwoman of early 90s grunge band Hole, widow of Kurt Cobain, and currently a few notches short of stable. Here's a reasonably quick rundown of her career:
I am, doll arms, big veins, dog bait"
I am, doll arms, big veins, dog bait"
— Doll Parts
- Born in 1964, she auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club at age 12...using a poem by Sylvia Plath.
- She moved around a lot in The '80s and was in various bands. At one point she joined Faith No More as a temporary vocalist, but was kicked out for clashing too much with the others.
- She started Hole in 1989 with guitarist Eric Erlandson and a rather alarming inability to hang onto drummers and bass players. With Hole she made the following albums:
- Pretty on the Inside (1991), a harsh Noise Rock album produced by Kim Gordon and Don Fleming. The lineup was Love, Erlandson, Jill Emery on bass and Caroline Rue on drums.
- Live Through This (1994), a more obviously Grunge album produced by Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie (previously producers for Radiohead's Pablo Honey). This became their most successful album, and brought about rumors that it was ghostwritten by Kurt Cobain.note For this album, Emery and Rue were replaced by Kristen Pfaff (who died of an accidental overdose two months after the album's release) and Patty Schemel.
- My Body, the Hand Grenade (1997), a compilation of early (and recent) material released while the band's attempt to record a third album collapsed. Included a Nirvana song called "Old Age" which was rewritten and credited entirely to Love without any mention of its origin, providing more fuel for Nirvana fans' disapproval.
- Celebrity Skin (1998), a much more accessible Power Pop-influenced album produced by Michael Beinhorn and with some contributions by Billy Corgan and Jordon Zadorozny of Blinker the Star. To prevent a repeat of Live Through This, the album contained extensive liner notes and writer's credits just so people would know exactly who did what. Melissa Auf Der Maur played bass on the album (and quit in 1999 to join the Smashing Pumpkins), while Schemel controversially left during the sessions for unclear reasons and was replaced by a session drummer in the studio and Samantha Maloney for the tour.
- She married Kurt Cobain. You know the rest.
- After some bit parts in the late 80s, she had a relatively successful period of acting in the mid 90s to early 2000s, most notably in The People Vs Larry Flynt, where she won quite a few awards and even managed to impress Roger Ebert.
- She disbanded Hole circa 2002 after a period of inactivity, became slightly more known for drug addiction, erratic behavior and a talent for annoying/insulting various other Alternative Rock figures than her music.
- She did not endear herself to Nirvana fans by starting a long legal pissing match with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, delaying the release of the With the Lights Out box set for three years.
- She recorded a solo album, America's Sweetheart (2004). This was not as well-received as her Hole material due to the weaker songwriting and overly commercial production, and even she admitted she was mostly out of it during recording. This album featured Emilie Autumn, and launched her non-classical career.
- She created a Self Insert Manga called Princess Ai under Tokyopop in 2004.
- She resurrected the Hole name in 2009 with an entirely new lineup, annoying Erlandson and surprising Auf Der Maur in the process (both of them only found out about it after they saw the announcement; the latter was baffled by the announcement saying that she would be the bassist). This lineup (Love, Micko Larkin, Shawn Dailey and Stu Fisher) put out a new album, Nobody's Daughter (2010). The album receives very, very mixed reviews. Fisher left a year after the release, being replaced with Scott Lipps. Hole disbanded again in 2012 and Love is again a solo act.
- Albums with Hole:
- Pretty on the Inside (1991)
- Live Through This (1994)
- Celebrity Skin (1998)
- Nobody's Daughter (2010)
- Compilations with Hole:
- My Body, the Hand Grenade (1997)
- Icon (2011)
- As a solo artist:
- America's Sweetheart (2004)
Courtney Love provides examples of the following tropes:
- Arch-Nemesis: Dave Grohl. The two have had strong feelings about each other and have been in multiple legal battles ever since Cobain's death and Nirvana's dissolution. It's possible that they have reconciled to some extent. At Nirvana's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, the two embraced on stage to thunderous applause from the audience.
- Arc Words: The word "milk" is repeated several times throughout Live Through This.
- The Atoner: She seems to have made making peace with her old enemies to be her resolution for 2014. First she made peace with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic at Nirvana's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, then she was later seen reaching out to others that she had rocky relationships with, such as Billy Corgan and Marilyn Manson, on social media.
- Awesome Ego: Real world example. During The '80s, she served as the frontwoman for Faith No More for a short period (sacked when her domineering personality became apparent even then). Her replacement turned out to be so bad that a magazine commented on the band's "internal warfare".
- Careful with That Axe: Jesus, Courtney... (Violet is the go to example of this)
- Cloud Cuckoolander: In her "good" public appearances, she comes off as one of these. See Jekyll & Hyde below.
- Drone of Dread: Pretty frequently. "Pretty on the Inside/Clouds" comes to mind, but it happens a lot.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Before becoming famous with Hole, she made a cameo appearance in the video for "I Wanna Be Sedated", and was a temporary vocalist for Faith No More.
- Follow the Leader:
- Football Fight Song: Invoked in "Be A Man."
- Generation Xerox: Younger Courtney + Kurt's laid back personality + Perky Goth = Frances Bean Cobain
- Grief Song: She has at least one over Kurt's death.
- Harsh Vocals: Apparently Courtney was gargling whiskey while recording "Pretty on the Inside" for this effect. Her vocals later evolved into this more naturally over the years (bordering on Vocal Decay), especially on Nobody's Daughter.
- Hidden Depths: Her speech about how artists are unfairly treated by the record industry is surprisingly insightful, informative and well-written. Also, let's face it, her talent as a musician and a frontwoman is greatly underrated, most likely due to her scandalous private life.
- I Am the Band: Former guitarist and only other constant member Eric Erlandson criticised the resurrection of the "Hole" name, saying he "had a contract" with Love that neither of them would reunite Hole without the other's involvement. Love responded by declaring that Hole is "MY band", and continued with the reunion. Erlandson did not pursue any further legal action (a decision Auf Der Maur attributed to his considerably mellower personality).
- Identical Stranger: Her younger, non-surgically-altered self is a dead ringer for Katee Sackhoff.
- Image Song: "Letter to God".
- Indecipherable Lyrics: When Courtney isn't screaming or genuinely singing, she gets to this. Though on Pretty on the Inside, it's mostly the fault of the production.
- Jekyll & Hyde: Love has had a mixture of "good" and "bad" public appearances. In her "good" public appearances she comes across as an elegant Cloudcuckoolander and raconteur. In her "bad" public appearances she comes off as an ungracious, catty tornado who documents her paranoia — Jack Torrence style — in scrambled, typo-ridden Tweets. This had lead many to believe that she has bipolar disorder, a condition that Kurt Cobain also had. Ironically, Courtney's mother was a psychotherapist.
- Misogyny Song: Things like "Baby Doll" and "Samantha" feel like this.
- New Sound Album / Genre Shift: Celebrity Skin is much more pop than the Grunge Live Through This and the Noise Rock Pretty on the Inside.
- Precision F-Strike: "I Think That I Would Die" is a a pretty slow and melancholy song, however it just makes the vitriol when she screams all the more powerful.
- Record Producer: Rather influential for the album's overall sounds — Kim Gordon and Don Fleming's work on Pretty on the Inside is more Noise Rock-oriented and harsh, Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie gave Live Through This a more straightforward Grunge sound, and Michael Beinhorn contributed to Celebrity Skin's more pop leanings.
- Beinhorn also counts as an Acrimony Producer: in a retrospective documentary on Celebrity Skin, Love called Beinhorn a "Nazi" and Schemel accused him of forcing her out of the band in favour of working with a session drummer.
- Revolving Door Band: The only constant members of Hole were Love and guitarist Eric Erlandson — they cycled through drummers and bassists at a pretty fast rate (with the odd Author Existence Failure, such as Kirsten Pfaff's heroin overdose). The recent reformation with an entirely-new lineup hasn't helped.
- Rock Star Song: The original version of "Awful," which was several pages long, included things like this.
- In her solo album America's Sweetheart, "Mono" feels like this.
- The Smurfette Principle:
- Inverted with the original incarnation of Hole, where Eric Eraldson was the only male member out of a grand total of 10.
- Played straight with the 2009-2012 incarnation where everyone but Courtney was a guy (though less blatant by the fact that apart from the drummer, the lineup was stable the whole time)
- To The Tune Of: Pretty on the Inside's "Starbelly" borrows its riff from Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl".
- Unkempt Beauty: Reinvented this for the early 90s, with tattered little dresses, smeared makeup and unbrushed hair. Still considered highly attractive anyway.
- The look in question, Kinderwhore, was the attempt to look like a prostitute crossed with a child playing dress-up. She was accused of stealing it from Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland.
- "I told you from the start just how this would end..."