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Music

The reason why Courtney Love hates one of her albums

@josephtaysom

Courtney Love’s career has been full of euphoric highs, often followed by meteoric lows that have seen her career hanging by a thread. Reflecting professionally, there’s one album the Hole frontwoman classifies as a “mistake” and her lowest moment as an artist.

When Love made her debut solo record, she was fighting her demons and made an album that didn’t reflect her artistically. Following the international success of Hole’s Celebrity Skin in 1998, the band had the world in their hands. Characteristically, problems ensued, and the group couldn’t take advantage of their newfound following, which they instead burnt to the ground.

In 2001, Hole announced that they were going their separate ways, and Love’s focus shifted from music to acting. She enjoyed several moderately successful years in Hollywood, however, it was the antithesis of the singer’s grunge roots.

Around this same time, Love began trying to experiment as a solo artist for the first time, and labels were swarming for her signature. Eventually, Love penned a deal for a reported $20million with Virgin Records. Although the vocalist later claimed she “never saw a penny” from the advance.

The main issue which ultimately plagued the recording process was Love suffering from addiction, and the demands put on her by the label only worsened her problems.

America’s Sweetheart eventually arrived in 2004, and it was a lacklustre return after her six-year absence. It failed to break into the top 50 of the Billboard 200, which didn’t meet the label’s expectations, but, more importantly, it didn’t meet Love’s standards.

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“The sound on America’s Sweetheart sucked beyond words. The production was a nightmare. Linda and I had written some really good songs, but they were rendered lazily and sound like shit. The art was horrific and not my idea and the label didn’t back it at all,” she explained in an interview in 2006.

“I was busy taking drugs to dull the pain of having lost everything and made a shit album to boot […] the producer didn’t know what he was doing and he just spent my money,” Love brutally admitted.

Love’s attitude towards the album hasn’t waned over the last 15 years, and in 2021, she took to Instagram to say it’s one of the “great shames” of her life, along with her fling with Steve Coogan. She wrote: “Maybe one day I won’t hate that record. It has some good songs. But like Steve Coogan, or crack, it’s one of my life’s great shames. Just the period, sloppiness, men, money, drugs, nightmare… although Chateau Miraval (where we made it) doesn’t suck.”

Working as a solo artist and within the confines of a band are incomparable creative procedures, with Love’s struggles being a prime example of someone who couldn’t successfully make that transition. Additionally, America’s Sweetheart also likely acts as a permanent reminder of a troubling time that assumedly she wishes to erase.

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