Editor's Note: As of June 2, this concert has been postponed.
Most artists have fans; Courtney Love has defenders. I used to be one myself. There are a lot fewer of them than there used to be in Love’s ’90s heyday, but you can still find defenders saying things like “If only everyone weren’t so distracted by her personal life and could see what a brilliant artist she is!” Even some of the critics who have trashed her new Hole album, Nobody’s Daughter, have gone out of their way to defend her ’90s work. I think the defenders are missing something that should have been obvious long ago: Love is an artist whose primary medium is fame itself. She plays her messed-up personal life the way Jack White plays a guitar solo. As the subject of magazine articles, she is a virtuoso.
Listen to “Doll Parts,” from Hole’s breakthrough 1994 album, Live Through This, released just days after Love’s husband’s suicide. Love’s singing is off key. The lyrics are little more than “Someday you will ache like I ache” repeated over and over. But it wasn’t that her voice and lyrics were just parts of her persona — an intelligent but wild woman who was determined to make it as a rock star, a movie star, whatever. She forced you to take sides either for or against her. It was fascinating for awhile, but at some point she needed to come up with something new to say other than “Look at me!” and “I ache!” The truth is, Nobody’s Daughter is pretty good. But Love had better be damn good in concert if she wants to win fans instead of merely hanging on to her defenders.
- Thursday, June 3, 2010, 8 p.m.
345 B Street,