Courtney Love, “America's Sweetheart”

Courtney Love, “America’s Sweetheart”

Today is the day when Courtney Love turns 60. The former Mrs. Cobain is known for not having a completely conciliatory character and many fans of the Nirvana (and rock in general) accuse her of having ruined Kurt. In a recent interview she said: “They said I was unpleasant. Yes, I am completely unpleasant and I will never apologize for that. I always wanted to be known as a bitch. Being liked was never my thing. Kurt wanted to be liked, I didn’t.” Courtney Michelle Harrisonthis is the name reported in the registry offices, has released four albums with his group, the

Holeand a soloist: “America’s Sweetheart”. And it is with our review of this album released in 2004 that we wish the loudmouth Courtney a happy birthday.

Here is one of the most anticipated albums of this early 2004: the oft-announced (and oft-postponed) solo debut of Courtney Love. As everyone knows, she is the former leader of Hole, but above all she is the widow of the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. And she is also one of those figures that make gossip writers happy: always on stage, always ready to provide with her restless character some occasion for light, unmusical and succulent news. But Courtney, despite doing everything to make us forget it, is a true rocker. Even before being a widow, actress and diva, she is someone who writes, sings and plays good old rock n’ roll. With Hole she had recorded a few albums, but those that left their mark. The beautiful (and a little glossy) “Celebrity skin” from ’98, but above all “Live through this” which, look at the coincidence, came out right around the time of her husband’s death, in 1994.

And it’s no coincidence that “Mono”, the album’s opening song and first single, contains the following lyrics: “Hey, God, you owe me one more song/ So I can prove to you/ That I’m so much better than him”.

Better than God or better than Kurt? And isn’t it a coincidence that another song on the album, “I’ll do anything”, has the same chord progression as “Smell like teen spirits”? Courtney revels in these ambiguities. Her music has always suffered a bit when compared to her husband’s. However, beyond any comparison, the girl knows what she’s doing, and she proves it once again with this album with the ambiguous title of “America’s Sweetheart” (but the cover portrays her as a busty pin-up…).

Her songs have a primal force that clashes with the media image of the character as a diva. Listen to the guitar riffs of “Almost golden”, or hear that slightly sandpapered and shouted tone of her voice, and you will understand why she deserves to be listened to. In the end, Courtney Love is the evolution of the “riot grrl”: always angry, always bad; rather than reject the establishment, she has entered into it and, in her own way, shows its contradictions. “America’s sweetheart” is a healthy rock album; a dry and raw rock, almost shouted: if only Courtney would always make this music, and stop acting like a capricious diva…