Before Olivia Rodrigo, Courtney Love Was the Mascara-Streaked Queen
Things got heated (or, shall we say, brutal) last week when Olivia Rodrigo announced her Sour Prom concert film, which featured a photo of her as a Gen Z Carrie wearing a tiara while holding a bouquet of roses. But as her mascara-streaked eyes gazed into the distance, trouble loomed ahead.
Within hours, Courtney Love pointed out the similarity between Rodrigo’s photo and the cover of Hole’s 1994 album Live Through This, and the two musicians had a heartfelt exchange about “twinning” (with Love playfully asking for flowers and a note). Instead of leaving it at that, Love then took to Facebook, where she responded to users’ comments a bit differently. “Does Disney teach kids reading and writing?” she wrote. “God knows. Let’s see. Yes, this is rude. Rage inducing? Honey if I had a dollar for everyone this happens? I’d be real rich!”
None of this is surprising — in fact, the exchange is reminiscent of Love and Lana Del Rey in 2012, when Love called out the singer for covering Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box.” (“You do know the song is about my Vagina right?” she said). But Love and Del Rey formed a friendship following these comments. Hopefully, she’ll soon befriend Rodrigo, too.
But enough of that. Let’s revisit Hole’s “Miss World,” a legendary video soaked in beauty pageant glory and angsty riffs. Love stars as Miss World, who pampers herself before taking the stage in her signature kinderwhore outfit. With a backdrop that reads “Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness,” Love tears through the track with her band; it’s the only Hole video to feature the late bassist Kristen Pfaff, who assists on backing vocals.
As the video concludes, Love is crowned queen and gifted a bouquet. It’s Carrie but somehow more tragic, as Love sings lines like “Kill me pills” and “I’ve made my bed, I’ll die in it” that contrast with the glamour. What teenager — especially one of a younger generation who didn’t grow up with MTV — wouldn’t be enamored by it?
Live Through This famously arrived one week after Love’s husband Kurt Cobain died by suicide. At the end of 1994, she spoke with Rolling Stone about the tragedy, the new album, and her “America Online postings,” which were noteworthy even then. “It was the only person I talked to for months,” Love said of the internet. “I just got caught up in it. It was the void that you talk to. And since I didn’t speak to anybody else, I had to get in trouble some way. I thought it was normal.”
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