soundtrack to a grumpy adolescence

I’m beginning to think Tavi Gevinson is a much more stylish and witty version of myself at age 14. For example: her many mentions of Daria (hey, I watched that religiously! I even had a friend who looked exactly like Daria, only without the boots!), her fondness for the old Sassy (I was too late to that game to actually subscribe, but I did read all about the hostile takeover and hunted down old articles on the internet), and her affection for Hole. How much did I like Hole, Nirvana, and other such bands? Quite a bit, I tells ya.

Courtney Love’s birthday happened recently, so Tavi has a post paying tribute, which reminded me of all the reasons I used to be really into that band, particularly Live Through This. While Courtney Love isn’t much of a singer or a guitar player, she uses her wrecked, scratchy voice and her sloppy playing to great advantage on that album – it totally fits the dark, emotional tone of the songs. Can you imagine, say, the chorus of “Violet” not sung in that distinctive yowl? The crafted, angry messiness of that album reflected the angry messiness of my teenage brain at the time I was listening to it. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that the way I was treated in middle school (by both kids and grown-ups) is one of the reasons I roll my eyes real hard when people romanticize small-town living. But Courtney Love grew up a small-town weirdo too! She didn’t fit in with the hippie communes she was raised on! She knew me, man.

So, I will always have a certain affection for Live Through This, and to a lesser extent Pretty On The Inside. (I will always hate Celebrity Skin, I don’t care what anyone says. I did like that cover of “Gold Dust Woman” but if you think I want to hear an entire album of Fleetwood Mac tributes, you are horribly wrong.) What bums me out to no end, however, is seeing that Courtney Love has revived the Hole name with a bunch of twentysomething dudes and there’s an album and a tour and AAARGH WHY IS THIS HAPPENING. Oh, wait, I heard about this. Apparently it’s Linda Perry’s doing. From this interview:

But [Linda] said, “Look, there’s, like, me, there’s, like, you, there’s maybe PJ [Harvey] — you gotta stop hiring chicks […]” And it was so sexist and such a horrible thing to say, but it actually happened to be true.

Pardon me.

OK, I’m back, after twenty minutes of weeping with alternate laughter and horror. First of all, it’s hilarious that Linda Perry, an utter hack who wrote one of the worst fucking songs I have ever heard in my life, is positioning herself as the exception to the “girls can’t play” rule. PJ Harvey, sure, she’s a solid guitar player and songwriter, but the dunce who wrote “What’s Goin’ On?” You’re the fucking lady Bryan Adams, asshole, and you have absolutely no right to talk shit on any other female musicians, most of whom (simply going by the law of averages here) are much better than you. Oh, but you’ve written a lot of pop hits! Well, maybe point that out to someone who cares.

And seriously, Courtney, did you forget about playing with Patty Schemel, Kristen Pfaff, and Melissa Auf Der Maur? All ladies, all incredibly skilled and capable musicians. Schemel’s drumming, in particular, is one of the things holding Live Through This together. There are hacky lady musicians, but there are hacky dude musicians too, and they aren’t taken to be representative of their gender. Someone who has played music for so long, with so many talented women, should know that.

So yeah, I am over being a fan of Courtney Love. She may have played some songs that got me through middle school, but the string of disappointments has gotten way too long at this point. I kind of expect some asshole behavior from bands I like, but when someone who spoke to me because I was an awkward, nerdy, loud-music-loving young girl turns around and shoots down other lady musicians, I just can’t hang with that. However: I will still listen to Live Through This, every once in a while, to remind myself where I came from, musically speaking.

PS – the new “Hole” is coming to my recently adopted homeland of Minneapolis soon. I was considering going out of morbid curiosity, then I found out it was $37.50. Yeah, not so much.

~ by Smellen on July 12, 2010.

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