Scraping Genius Off The Wheel

COURTNEY LOVE IS AS COURTNEY LOVE DOES

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Shortly after 8 p.m., Ms. Love burst into the room with the Marchesa dress slung on one arm and the noted German Neo-Expressionist artist Anselm Kiefer on the other. She was entirely naked and leaning on Mr. Kiefer for support. She made one lap around the room, walking in front of a photographer, an assistant, a hairstylist and me. She pulled over her head a transparent lace dress that covered up nothing, and demanded my assistance — “Not you,” she said to Mr. Kiefer, who was bent over trying to help her — to stuff her feet into a pair of black Givenchy heels that were zipped up the back and tied with delicate laces in the front. Then she applied a slash of red lipstick in the vicinity of her mouth.

“I really must get out of here,” Mr. Kiefer said.

This excerpt comes from the New York Timessecond profile of Courtney Love this year, the first of which was done by Anthony Bozza, co-author of autobiographies from Slash and Tommy Lee, in the lead-up to Nobody’s Daughter, the album Love released under the Hole moniker without any former members. The latest piece comes from Eric Wilson in the Fashion pages, as she has become a fixture of the scene in New York as well as worldwide. While much of what he writes about is her stunning acceptance into that community, Wilson was obviously unable to resist describing how Love sabotaged her own puff piece with what have become anticipated antics.

So how is this news to the hard rock community, who largely revile her for reasons legitimate and absurd? In the piece, Wilson cites that, according to Neilsen SoundScan, Nobody’s Daughter was essentially a flop, selling 52,000 copies in the U.S. to date. While this number seemingly does not include what was sold direct to fans from Hole’s website, it’s a downright dismal number when compared to the already disappointing sales of her 2004 solo album, America’s Sweetheart, which apparently sold more than double that amount. I opted not to write a review of the new record here (despite obvious demand from the readership) since it barely qualified as hard rock. It was a shabby collection of songs written and co-written over several years, salvaged from an abandoned sophomore LP, re-re-recorded by hired guns and lumped together with little regard for cohesion.

And rather than see this commercial failure as a wake-up call, Love continues to spiral downwards, almost endlessly. Yet unlike so many before her, Love’s decline is being documented in incoherent tweets, snarky blog posts, and prophecy-fulfilling profile pieces such as Wilson’s. It’s kinda sad to watch her star burn out — with the aid of enablers — when she could have been the next Patti Smith.

-GS

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