in praise of 'Celebrity Skin' by Hole
I have been stewing on this piece for a few years now. I know what you think of Courtney Love, and I know what I think of Courtney Love. All that aside (and I know that is a nearly impossible request)... Hole's Celebrity Skin is a phenomenal rock album.
I know Courtney is nuts, and every little adjective you want to attach to her. Whatever, most guys in rock are way bigger dicks than she is... and you don't count that. Malibu Skin is just great, nearly every track. Granted, the hits were mostly written by Billy Corgan and the rest by Eric Erlandsen. I dig the lyrics, I dig the hooks, I dig the guitar work. The album is so expressive to me, and the best thing to happen to chick rock since Chrissy Hynde. Yeah, I am sure you have a thousand girl band references where you'll surely opine something like ____ can kick Courtney's wasted ass any day. Well, friend, you'd be wrong.
Her band is terrific. Melissa auf De Maur is a great bassist, and was the successor in the Smashing Pumpkins after D'arcy got fired for drugs. To appreciate Eric Erlandsen (I hope I spelled that right), listen to 'Northern Star'... that one is all him.
I'll say the next thing because I know you are afraid to. She is hot. Now, only about 1 in 10 pictures shows that... as she is mostly wasted in public when the cameras catch her. Courtney also has integrity. She stood up to her record company and put the whole Hole catalogue online to cheese them off. She also worked with Don Henley to create a musicians' union. This to me is an idea to totally inevitable as it is ahead of it's time. Wait, did I say she had integrity? There is this other thing - she sold her husband's personal diaries to Time (or Newsweek, or some shit like that) so they could make a cover story. For that alone I will always hate her. The only person in history that overtly horrible and tailcoat riding is Yoko.
So, turn off your 'Courtney killed Kurt' radar (only temporarily... it's quite possibly true), and don't pretend to worry about Francis Bean either. Think of a worse parent than Elvis? Now get yourself a copy of Celebrity Skin and listen to it all the way through. Your friends won't think its cool, by the way... so tell them its Sleater Kinney (or some other indie approved band).