Monday, October 10, 2005

The Past Is The Future

George Santayana said, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Sometimes, the tough part is knowing which part of the past to remember. Others, it's knowing when you're in a moment where you should remember the past. It's often much easier to look at the past after it's repeated and say, "Oh yeah - that past!"

All you need to know about the last 10 years of Courtney Love's life can be gleaned from Hole's appearance on MTV Unplugged. She's an open wound one year after her husband destroyed her life. She rambles, swears, and smears her makeup. She's hyperaware of the camera and completely honest at the same time. She is a public spectacle and she knows it. All the public insanity of the last couple years is clear on the runway.

She's also a cookie both smart and tough. While her latest album sounded like her voice had been ravaged by time/drugs/pain, on Unplugged she uses that same raggedness to smash her pain and fury in our faces. Her band slows down Drown Soda to an ominous blues as she plans the annihilation of all who would destroy her. If you're not with her, you're going down.

Not before she does, though. Courtney rightly introduces He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss) (written by Carole King, no less) as a scary song, but when she ends it by pleading over and over "Baby, won't you stay", it's clear the well from which her grief, pain, and need are drawn is bottomless. She shreds her voice and heart by the song's end. The line from then to now is not so tough to see.


Blogger 2fs said...

Interesting tracks. Is there another performer to mix talent with dubiousness in such nearly balanced degrees? Love can be a really compelling singer, and, even when one suspects the presence of a co-writer, can write some effective songs...but at the same time, ridiculousness, staginess, and wildly inappropriate judgment are so present as well.

October 12, 2005 2:29 PM  

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