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Music

Courtney Love's 10 favourite albums of all time

@notmyyaztattoo

1994 was a big year for Courtney Love, and not necessarily for great reasons. Her husband Kurt Cobain, with whom she had an infant daughter, passed away within weeks of her band, Hole, releasing their second album, Live Through This. How she found the time and space to talk with Spin magazine not once, but twice within the next year is beyond me.

However, she did, and in doing so, Love gave a rundown of her top ten favourite albums of all time in addition to giving an interview about her image and her music. When revisiting the interview, it’s clear that Courtney Love is in a rough place — and understandably so. This is where you find quotes like, “My reputation had gotten so bad that every time I went to a party, I was expected to burn the place down and knock out every window. So I would go into social situations and try my best to be really graceful and quiet and aloof. But sometimes when people are bearing down on you so hard, and want you to behave in a certain way, you just do it because you know you can.”

But what got her there? Well, when she spoke with the same magazine in 1995, Love named favourites like Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral and PJ Harvey’s Dry, both of which can be seen in the likes of Live Through This, albeit on opposite proverbial edges of the record. 

Nirvana’s In Utero sweeps just below the bottom of the list at number nine, perhaps because she was saving room near the top for her personal favourite of her late husband’s records. Nevermind sits at the number two spot, only edged out by Echo and the Bunnymen’s Heaven Up There. When it comes to her Nirvana picks, sure, there’s probably a personal element there, but given the similarity to Hole’s work and the objective quality and popularity of Nirvana, could you blame anyone for having two of their albums on their top ten?

As for Echo and the Bunnymen, this pick also sort of makes sense for Love, considering their overarching darkness composed with deep melodic progressions. Of course, it’s not exactly in the same wheelhouse as Hole, but the parallels are easy to draw. 

Courtney Love’s 10 favourite albums:

  • The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails
  • In Utero – Nirvana
  • New Day Rising – Husker Du
  • Dry – PJ Harvey
  • Songs From a Room – Leonard Cohen
  • Superfuzz Bigmuff EP – Mudhoney
  • Surfer Rosa – Pixies
  • Fire of Love – Gun Club
  • Nevermind – Nirvana
  • Heaven Up Here – Echo and the Bunnymen

Pixies and Leonard Cohen also made it onto her list, rounding out her taste well. It’s hard to say if she’d have the same answers now when it comes to her top ten favourite albums, but maybe she’ll return to the idea one of these days and update her list. However, these were Courtney Love’s top ten albums at a period of her life that will remain one of the most difficult.

Stream a playlist of the records, below.